Home Maintenance Top Tips

Even when you have the home protection offered by a home warranty, practicing routine maintenance will help keep your systems and appliances running safely and efficiently.

See the maintenance and troubleshooting tips in the list below, which you can do yourself or with the help of a service professional.

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Maintenance and Troubleshooting Tips

Air Conditioner

Standard Maintenance

  • Routine maintenance should be performed annually or as frequently as recommended by the manufacturer’s guidelines. We recommend having your system checked before the summer season begins to discover any problems before the temperatures go up.
  • Replace your air filters consistently. We recommend replacing them as frequently as monthly during the hot summer months. If your system uses a washable filter, clean it regularly.

If your air conditioner is blowing hot air

  • Replace your filter.
  • Have your unit professionally cleaned and serviced if you haven’t done so recently.
  • If you are still experiencing an issue on an air conditioner covered by a First American home warranty, call us at 800.992.3400 or sign in to request service.

Clothes Dryer

Standard Maintenance

  • Clean your lint screen after every load.
  • Occasionally wash the lint screen with warm, soapy water to remove build-up from fabric softeners.
  • Use a long-handled, narrow brush to remove excess lint from your lint trap opening.
  • Unplug your dryer and remove the ducting. Use a dryer vent brush to clean lint from the rear of your dryer, the duct, and the vent which is usually on the exterior of your home.

If your dryer is taking an excessive amount of time to dry or is not blowing hot air

  • Make sure you are using a drying cycle that provides heat. For example, an “air dry cycle” only blows air and tumbles your laundry but will not produce heat.
  • Check for a clog or kink in your dryer exhaust duct or exterior vent.
  • Check your fuses or breaker to ensure your unit is receiving sufficient power.
  • If you are still experiencing an issue on a covered dryer, call us at 800.992.3400 or sign in to request service.

Clothes Washer

Standard Maintenance

  • Replace hoses every three to five years.
  • Check the balance of your machine with a level. If it is off balance, adjust the feet and test again.

If your washing machine is not spinning or draining

  • Check to make sure your lid switch is engaging properly. If it is bent or broken off, your lid will not close completely which may cause your unit to not complete its cycle.
  • Check your pump for any clogs.
  • Your machine may be out of balance. Test this by running a cycle without any clothes. If your unit thumps, you may have a broken spring or shock.
  • If you are still experiencing an issue on a covered clothes washer, call us at 800.992.3400 or sign in to request service.

Dishwasher

Standard Maintenance

  • Run an empty cycle with a cup of white vinegar to deodorize and clear out old food particles.
  • Clean your dishwasher trap and seals and clear out any old food or clogs.

If your dishwasher is leaking or won’t drain

  • Your door may not be sealing properly.
  • Check if something may be jamming the “float” at the bottom of your machine - it looks like the cap of a laundry detergent bottle.
  • If you are still experiencing an issue on a covered dishwasher, call us at 800.992.3400 or sign in to request service.

Range - Electric

If one of your burners isn’t working

  • Try replacing the burner that doesn’t work with one that you know does to test it.
  • Look at the prongs of the burner and in the socket to check for charring. Replace the socket if needed.
  • If you are still experiencing an issue on your covered range or cooktop, call us at 800.992.3400 or sign in to request service.

If none of your burners are working

  • Ensure the outlet is providing power.
  • If you are still experiencing an issue, call us at 800.992.3400 or sign in to request service.

Range - Gas

If your cooktop burner doesn’t light

  • Check to ensure your pilot light is lit and follow the instructions for relighting your pilot on your particular range if it is out.
  • If you are still experiencing an issue, call us at 800.992.3400 or sign in to request service.

If your pilot light won’t remain lit

  • Use a small wire to clean out your pilot port.
  • Feel for any draft that may be causing the pilot to go out.
  • If you are still experiencing an issue on your covered range or cooktop, call us at 800.992.3400 or sign in to request service.

If you smell gas

  • Make sure the dials are turned off and open doors and windows to air out the room.
  • If you continue to smell gas, immediately notify your gas company.

Electrical System

If you have lights or outlets that aren’t working

  • Some outlets are GFCI, meaning they have “test” and “reset” buttons on them. If you have a GFCI outlet that isn’t working, push the “test” button followed by the “reset” button and try the outlet again.
  • Check your breakers to ensure they are in the “on” position. Try turning them off then back on again.
  • If you are still experiencing an issue on a covered electrical system, call us at 800.992.3400 or sign in to request service.

Garbage Disposal

Standard Maintenance

  • An easy way to keep your garbage disposal clean and odor free is to turn it on and push ice cubes into it while running cold water.
  • Avoid putting fibrous or starchy items, such as banana peels, potato peelings, rice, egg shells, and coffee grounds in the disposal.

If your garbage disposal is not spinning

  • Ensure the outlet it is plugged into has power.
  • Hit the red “reset” button on the bottom of the disposal.
  • Manually crank using a hex wrench.
  • If you are still experiencing an issue on a covered garbage disposal, call us at 800.992.3400 or sign in to request service.

Plumbing

To prevent backups

  • Be cautious of what goes down the drain in your showers, sinks, and toilets. Install screens over your drains in your showers to catch loose hair, and only flush sewage and toilet paper.
  • Even if you have a garbage disposal, limit the amount of food scraps that go down your kitchen drain. Never pour grease down the drain since it will harden in your pipes and cause issues.

If you have a clog

  • Pour ½ cup of salt down the drain followed by boiling water. Flush with hot water to attempt to clear the clog.
  • If it is a shallow blockage, use a wire clothes hanger to pull up the clog.
  • If you are still experiencing an issue on your covered plumbing, call us at 800.992.3400 or sign in to request service.

If you have a leak

  • Turn off the angle stop valve to the fixture or turn off your home’s main water shut-off value to prevent secondary damage.
  • Call us at 800.992.3400 or sign in to request service.

Refrigerator

Standard Maintenance

  • Clean your door seals and dust your condenser coils twice a year.
  • Keep your refrigerator between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer at 0 degrees.

If your refrigerator isn’t cold enough

  • Check the thermostat setting to ensure it is set to the proper temperature.
  • Make sure your condenser coils are free of dust.
  • If you are still experiencing an issue on a covered refrigerator, call us at 800.992.3400 or sign in to request service.

If your refrigerator isn't smelling fresh

  • Remove old food
  • Wash the interior with baking soda disolved in warm water or with vinegar diluted with water.
  • Once clean, place a small bowl with a few charcoal briquettes into the refrigerator and freezer. Use regular briquettes and avoid quick start or hickory versions. Replace with fresh briquettes every few days until the smell is completely gone.

Water Heater

Standard Maintenance

  • Set the temperature between 115 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce energy costs and protect your tank from overheating.
  • Many manufacturers recommend having your tank flushed regularly to remove sediments and minerals which can build up in the bottom of your tank, particularly in areas with hard water. These sediments cause the water heater to work harder and use more time and energy to heat water.            
  • The anode rod protects your water heater from corrosion, and should be replaced every few years or according to manufacturer’s guidelines.

If there is no hot water

  • For gas
    • Check the pilot light. If it is out, contact the gas company. They will usually relight it free of charge.
    •  Make sure your gas value is on and connects to the gas control unit.
  • For electric
    • Check your circuit breaker.
    • Push the “reset” button.
  • If you are still experiencing an issue on a covered water heater, call us at 800.992.3400 or sign in to request service.

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