Our Home‎ > ‎

You Should Check


Google Gadget to add script within Google Sites

Click for more informationHow Can I Get A Copy Of The Manuals For Our Home?

You can download the manuals for your home from Skylinehomes.com at Housing Manuals Contact.

Here are the links to the basic manuals:

 

For general reading about how mobile homes are built see:  How Mobile Homes are Built - Inside the manufactured home factory

 


 

Click for more informationYou Should Check: or Test Your Drinking Water.

The Delaware Health and Social Services Division of Public Health recommends annual sampling to ensure optimal water quality. Test kits are available through their office.  See Drinking Water - Private Well Owners, for information about obtaining a test kit and sampling instructions.

 

Kits cost $4.00 for both chemical and bacteriological kits ($2.00 Each). Kits are available Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM-4:30 PM. The kits are for private well owners only.

 


 

Click for more informationYou Should Check: Your Natural Gas Pipe Support Straps!

To see if excess rust is building up on the support straps that hold up the Natural Gas pipe under your home;  Excess rust could be an indication that water is dripping on the straps.  With a flashlight look in the hole where the strap goes through the polyethylene underbelly.  It should be fastened / screwed into the wood framing of the floor, not in your water pipes.

 


 

Click for more informationYou Should Check: Your Septic Tanks Effluent Filter.

Check your Septic Tanks Effluent Filter on a regular base.  Keeping it clean will help keep your system "flowing" smoothly.

 


 

Click for more informationYou Should Check: Your Hot Water Heater's Anode Rod.

Check your Hot Water Heater's Anode Rod at least annually to see if it needs replacing.  See "eHow - How to replace an Anode Rod".  Replacing the rod when needed will eliminate the odor / rusty looking hot water.

 

Note: The Anode Rod sells for around $25-30 (in the local area).  You can find it cheaper on the internet

 

Northeastern Supply

100 S. Dupont Hwy., Camden, DE, 19934, Phone: 302-698-1313 (@ $25-30)

 

Dover Plumbing Supply Co,

3626 N Dupont Hwy., Dover, DE, 19901, Phone: 302-674-0333 (@ $27)

 


 

Click for more informationYou Should Check: Your Windows if They Are Hard to Open, Close or Stay Open.

Are your windows sliding smoothly, do they stay up?  If they are getting hard to open or close just a little cleaning should do the trick (clean them with a damp cloth).  For those that are extra hard to use a little household oil may be needed.

 

To clean the spiral balance bars (the counterbalance mechanism that keeps the windows in a raised position) just open the window using the side latches as if you were cleaning the outside of them.  To the left and right side you will notice metal straps that have a swirl in them that slide through a block of plastic.  They are the balancers for the window (some may remember the old cast iron weights on a rope, same thing).

 

Wipe them clean and then place a few drops of oil (white or lithium grease works best) on the straps (use oil sparingly, it could gum the rod) and re-latch and close the window.  Then just slide the window open/closed a few times to fully lubricate the straps.  You can read more from here "Vinyl and Aluminum Window Balance Replacement and Adjustment".

 


 

Click for more informationYou Should Check: The Polyethylene Underbelly (Belly Paper) Under Your Home.

The polyethylene underbelly (Belly Paper) (the black plastic sheet holding up the insulation under your home) for cuts and tears.  The Heat and AC can escape through them which is not very energy efferent.  During strong winds the reverse can happen, the draft from the crawlspace can enter your home through the cuts and tears in the belly paper.  Yes your home has lots of holes in the floor in which air can enter or escape.

 

belly tape

 


 

Click for more informationYou Should Check: Your Crawl Space Vents.

What do crawl space vents do?

 

Crawl space vents placed on opposite sides of a home help remove damp, musty crawl space air with clean outside air.  Outside air would enter a vent on one side of the crawl space and exit out the vent on the other side.  This lets the home be exposed to healthy air.  The result is a healthier home.

 

What else do I need to know?

 

Are rodents getting into your home?  That's because there is a gap between your crawl space vents (Aluminum Foundation Vent) and your home (if you have not already sealed them).  This gap allows rodents and anything else to enter your crawl space.  The gap should be sealed or closed. A quick way is to use "expanding foam" to close the gap.  You should also check inside your garage and around your home.  If there is a gap between the siding and the block foundation of your home a rodent could also get in through there.  Close those gaps also with "expanding foam".  It worked for me.

 

You should cover your crawl space vents for winter (thanks Leroy for the info).  Our home's should have the crawl space floor (ground) sealed with a vapor barrier (the white plastic on the ground).  Its also recommended to seal the crawl space vents with vent covers, seal any gaps or holes to the outside, and seal the crawl space door.

 

As the cold winds of winter approach, now is a good time to cover up your home's crawl space vents.

 

Crawl space vents allow the air from outside to ventilate under the house to prevent moisture buildup, which contributes to dry rot.  In the winter the cold air temperatures can freeze the pipes under your home.  Once you know how to cover crawl space vents for the winter you will prevent your pipes from freezing due to the harsh winds of winter.  There are several simple, inexpensive ways to cover your vents, Leroy has some good tips on this.

 

When the temperature drops to 38 degrees you should make sure all of your vents are closed to avoid any drafts.  You can also purchase crawl space covers that can fit over your vents.  This can help prevent pipes from freezing and will also help cut the cost of your electric bill.

 

Closing your vent temperature guide (picture)

eHow - How to Cover Crawlspace Vents for Winter

 


 

Click for more informationYou Should Check: Your Yard After Miss Utility Marks It.

You should always Call Miss Utility of Delmarva at 800-282-8555 or 800-441-8355 prior to digging in your yard.  While Miss Utility will locate and mark your utilities they will not mark your septic or well lines/pipes.  You should always inform the contractors of there locations, "before they cut or damage them".

 


 

Click for more informationYou Should Check: Your HVAC Ducts For Leaks.

Winterize Your Home For Energy Savings.  Examine your house's heating ducts for leaks.  Since you don't see them everyday, ducts can leak for years without you knowing it.

 

You can lose hundreds of dollars a year in utility bills because your air ducts are not sealed properly.  But leaky ducts don't just cost you money it can also cost you and your families health.  Leaky ducts can allow dust, mold, humidity and other toxins like radon gas, pesticides and carbon monoxide to enter your home from basements, attics and crawl spaces.  You should have damaged ducts repaired or replaced.

 

Flex ducts.  Leaks in flex ducts are found at connections of the flex to junction boxes and fittings, and to leaks in the junction boxes or fittings themselves.  Fiberglass duct board put together with foil-backed duct tape come apart over time, and thus are a potential source of leakage.  The metal collars that fit into the fiberglass duct board leak between the collar and the duct board cut-out.  Metal junction boxes and fittings used with flex duct have fabrication joints that also leak.

 

You should look under your home where the flexible duct tubes and the heater/AC (furnace) unit are connected/joined to the main supply duct (fiberglass duct board) running under your home.

 

The main duct is on the same side of you home as the heating/AC unit and runs from the heater/AC unit to the end of your home (larger homes may have two main supply ducts).  There should be one flexible duct connection for each register/vent in your home (I have 12 register/vent connections).

 

When I first moved in I was concerned that I may have a leak in my ducts so I looked at the connection under my heater/AC unit.  And not to my surprise there was a one inch gap between my heater/AC unit and the main supply duct (yours may be the same way).  I used expanding foam sealant and foil tape (the medal-backed tape designed for ducts) to seal around the main duct where it connected to my furnace.

 

I then checked each flexible duct connection to the main supply duct.  For me there was a 1/4 - 1/2 inch hole beside each of the round metal start collars where they were installed in the fiberglass duct board.  These collars allow the flexible duct to be attached to the fiberglass duct board.

 

They are installed by cutting a hole in the fiberglass duct board and inserting the collars.  The metal tabs are bent over using your fingers.  A plastic duct strap is placed around the duct and tightened by pulling on it with pliers.  The excess strap is cut off and the insulation is pulled over the connection (its recommended to secure it with another strap).  The insulation should cover all metal to prevent sweating and condensation.

 

At the factory when they were cutting the holes for the collars, instead of cutting "round" holes they cut "oval" holes.  And if you draw a oval real fast (numerous times a day) you will find that where you start and end that it's not as "rounded" as you would think, there is a corner "gap".  It's that "gap" that allows the leak in your duct system.

 

For me, with a gap in every connection, I basically had a three inch hole in my duct system, blowing my heat/AC under my home.  Not very energy efficient.

 

belly tapeBefore you go to check your connections in your duct you need to know that you will be cutting into the polyethylene underbelly (Belly Paper) and that you should get the needed materials to seal your ducts beforehand and underbelly.

 

Locate and mark the location of your connections by having someone bang on the floor where each register is located and mark that area of the main supply duct under your home, there should be a duct connection or two in that area.  The plastic belly paper should be cut along the length of your home, not the width.  You may need to cut the plastic belly paper on each side of the fiberglass duct board in some areas.

 

basements - overview of adding a basementI first cut about a four foot slit where I knew there was a connection (just follow the crossover duct from one side of your home to the other) into the belly paper and insulation to look inside.  Just my luck I found extra "plastic belly paper" and a plastic strap beside the duct collar.  In fact I found a plastic strap at each collar connection, leading me to believe they were expecting the owner needing to fix them, and I was able to find enough plastic belly material to seal all of the slits/holes I made.

 

You can pull the flexible duct off of the connector and then remove the plastic strap.  If you know how to pull apart the plastic straps you could reuse them (two straps put together will work for a connector).  Then straighten out the tabs on the back of the connector and remove it from the fiberglass duct board.  While you are there take a look inside the duct for anything that shouldn't be in there and look around the area for debris/trash on top of the insulation.

 

Using flexible silicone sealant, apply a generous bead around the outside of the flange on the collar (the lip just above the outside of the flanges that mates to the duct board).  You should seal the seam also.  Then reinstall the collar and press the flanges over to connect it to the duct board, check and seal any gaps between the collar and the duct board.  When the sealant dries it should provide a good seal around the collar and stop any leaks.

 

Patch and seal the slits you made and any holes in the polyethylene underbelly (Belly Paper) material.  Hopefully you were able to find some of the barrier material (or purchased some) with the silicone sealant.  I am sure must of us have patched our bicycle tires at one point, it's the same process (just don't light it...).

 

Do this for each register and you may find the air coming out of your registers stronger and you bills easer on the wallet.

 

Needed materials (you could need more or less):

plastic duct straps (if you could not find enough of them)

plastic underbelly material (if you could not find enough of it)

silicone sealant (flexible bond, no-odor)

long bladed craft knife

drop light

lots of time

 

Helpful links:

[PDF] Chapter 8 Duct Design and Sealing

This site has some very useful information: Residential Energy Systems

Consumer brochure from EnergyStar on how to seal air ducts

 

Note: Some caulk mastics can produce harmful fumes.  Always follow the guidelines on the tube and provide adequate ventilation when sealing duct.  Duct tape can work for a short time, but after a while, it dries up and becomes useless.

 

Leaky Ductwork Wastes Energy Dollars

For most of us, the ducts connected to our heating system are out of sight and out of mind.  Most of us wouldn't know if our ductwork was leaking air we'd paid to heat.  But rest assured your electricity bill knows.   Leaking ductwork can waste up to one-third of the energy your heating system is producing.

 

That means if it costs $100 to heat your home this month, you could have gotten by with only $66.   Not only do leaky ducts waste energy; they can also adversely affect your family's health.  If the return-side crawlspace ducts leak, mold, mildew, fungus and fumes from chemicals stored under your home could be sucked up and blown into the living space.

 

So how do you tell if your ductwork is leaking?

  • One room may be cooler that the rest of the house.

  • You see separated joints or obvious holes in ducts.

  • You see dirty spots or streaks in the insulation covering the ducts at ductwork joints.

  • You feel air movement at ductwork joints (be careful of jagged sheet metal edges).

  • You see old duct tape that has fallen away from joints.

  • A certified contractor uses a blower door test or infrared camera that finds leaks. Once you determine the ductwork needs to be re-sealed, there are two options. You can seal the ducts yourself or hire a certified contractor for the job.

  • Use mastic to seal metal duct joints. Mastic is a latex-based paste that is smeared over the joint to stop airflow. Use a cotton glove that you don't mind discarding afterwards to apply mastic. Be careful of sharp sheet metal edges.

  • You can also use duct tape but not the cloth type that we're all familiar with. Use a foil duct tape made especially for the job. It should carry the UL label.

Not only should the ductwork joints be sealed; seal the transition between the indoor heating unit and duct system as well as any loose doors on the heating unit. All sheet metal ducts should be covered with an R-6 foil- backed fiberglass insulation.

 


 

Click for more informationYou Should Check: Your HVAC Registers For Leaks.

Removed the heat register by taking out the screw that hold the outer vent part to the backing plate.

 

The backing plate is held in place with a couple of drywall screws, remove them with a screwdriver.

Remove the register backing plate.  With the register removed seal any gaps/holes between the floor and the heater duct.

Air that's heated or cooled to comfort you and your family shouldn't be pouring into your crawlspace, attic, walls or other uninhabited areas. That's why it's important to make sure your ducted heating and cooling systems aren't leaking, which wastes energy and costs you money and comfort.

 

Testing and sealing your ductwork can trim your energy costs, make your home more comfortable and reduce indoor air pollution. Duct insulation can provide even more benefits. Sealed and insulated ducts-in addition to a properly sealed and insulated home-also allow you to install a heating system that is the correct size for your home and not oversized to compensate for inefficiencies.

 


 

Click for more informationYou Should Check: Your HVAC Cross-Over Flexible Ducts.

A TIP FOR INCREASING AIR FLOW TO YOUR FLOOR REGISTERS.

In your crawlspace, heat is blown to various parts of the home via cross-over ducts.  Some homes have one big cross-over duct, some have several small ducts, and others have both.

 

If your not getting enough air from your floor registers, crawl underneath and look at the cross-over ducts.  If they look kinked and are sagging like the picture to the right, then air flow is being restricted.  Also look for torn or loose ducts.

 

 

 

 

One crude but effective solution is to simply prop-up the smaller cross-over ducts with plastic buckets. Then seal or replace any torn cross-over ducts.

 

Inside the home, 'zone' your floor registers by partly closing those closest to the furnace. Also partly close some of the floor registers on the half of the home that the furnace sits. This should help evenly distribute heat to the entire home.

 

While the above would work we don't want to do that.  If you were able to find some of the grey plastic strapping (the grey plastic straps holding up your water lines) from inside the underbelly of your home you can use that or cut some 6 in wide strips from any polyethylene underbelly (Belly Paper) material you may have on hand.  Just cut the plastic straps or underbelly material long enough to form a U around the flexible duct and staple it to the center beam of your home.  Do not staple them to tight or you could block the flexible duct, just enough to hold them up.

 


 

Click for more informationYou Should Check: Your HVAC Condensate Pump.

Check your HVAC Condensate Pump annually: it pumps the condensate (water) produced in an HVAC (heating or cooling) system.  The pump will usually run intermittently during the air conditioners use and has a small tank in which condensate accumulates.  The accumulating liquid raises a float switch energizing the pump lowering the liquid by pumping it outside your home (usually in a clear flexible tubing).  Also check the tubing for clogs.

 

Note: your fuse box has a switch to turn on/off the power to the electrical outlet located under your home, the pump runs from that outlet and is not needed until you use your HVAC.

 


 

Click for more informationYou Should Check: Your HVAC Condensate Drain Line.

Inspect the Condensate Drain Line

Condensate drain lines collect condensed water and drain it away from the unit.  They are located on the side of the inside fan unit. Sometimes there are two drain lines - primary drain line that's built into the unit, and a secondary drain line that can drain if the first line becomes blocked.

 

Homeowners can inspect the drain line by using the following tips, which take very little time and require no specialized tools:

  • Inspect the drain line for obstructions, such as algae and debris. If the line becomes blocked, water will back up into the drain pan and overflow, potentially causing a safety hazard or water damage to your home.

  • Make sure the hoses are secured and fit properly.

 


 

Click for more informationYou Should Check: Your HVAC Condenser Unit.

Cover the Exterior Unit

 

When the cooling season is over, you should cover the exterior HVAC condenser unit in preparation for winter.  If it isn't being used, why expose it to the elements?  This measure will prevent ice, leaves and dirt from entering the unit, which can harm components and require additional maintenance in the spring.  A cover can be purchased, or you can make one yourself by taping together plastic trash bags.  Be sure to turn the unit off before covering it.

 

Clean the Exterior Condenser Unit and Components

 

The exterior condenser unit is the large box located on the side of the building that is designed to push heat from the inside of the building to the outdoors.  Inside of the box are coils of pipe that are surrounded by thousands of thin metal "fins" that allow the coils more surface area to exchange heat.

 

Follow these tips when cleaning the exterior condenser unit and its inner components -- after turning off power to the unit!

  • Remove any leaves, spider webs and other debris from the unit's exterior.  Trim foliage back several feet from the unit to ensure proper air flow.

  • Remove the cover grille to clean any debris from the unit's interior.  A garden hose can be helpful for this task.

  • Straighten any bent fins with a tool called a fin comb.

  • Add lubricating oil to the motor.  Check your owner's manual for specific instructions.

  • Clean the evaporator coil and condenser coil at least once a year.   When they collect dirt, they may not function properly.

 


 

Click for more informationYou Should Check: Your Dryer Ducting and Vent.

When did you last clean your dryer ducting?  If it was over six months ago, then you should do it this weekend!  You don't want to be a dryer-fire statistic.  Wash your lint screen of residue from fabric softener sheets that restrict air flow leading to longer drying time.  Everyone should check their dryer vent when they're doing their regular seasonal maintenance.

 

This is the time of year everyone is washing windows and siding, sweeping and sealing the deck and pulling weeds from the flower garden.  Once this is done, the old cracked dryer vent hood, covered with moss sticks out like a sore thumb.

 

Everyone should check their dryer vent when they're doing their regular seasonal maintenance.  More important, check it when the dryer is running; you should see the exhaust coming of it.  The vent flaps should open when the dryer is running and close when it is off.  Check it for birds or bees nests too as this will block air flow and create a fire hazard.

 

Universal Pest Guard Dryer Vent CoverAlso look at the dryer vent cover outside your home.  If it only has the cover with the louvers that open when your dryer is turned on you should install a guard over it to keep out unwanted guests (rodents).  The local home supply store carries several types and styles of them.

 

Dryer Vent Safety

 

Clothes dryers evaporate the water from wet clothing by blowing hot air past them while they tumble inside a spinning drum. Heat is provided by an electrical heating element or gas burner. Some heavy garment loads can contain more than a gallon of water which, during the drying process, will become airborne water vapor and leave the dryer and home through an exhaust duct (more commonly known as a dryer vent).

 

A vent that exhausts moist air to the home exterior has a number of requirements:

  1. It should be connected.  The connection is usually behind the dryer but may be beneath it. Look carefully to make sure it's actually connected!

  2. It should not be restricted.  Dryer vents are often made from flexible plastic or metal duct, which may be easily kinked or crushed where they exit the dryer and enter the wall or floor.  This is often a problem since dryers tend to be tucked away into small areas with little room to work.  Vent hardware is available which is designed to turn 90° in a limited space without restricting the flow of exhaust air.  Restrictions should be noted in the inspector's report.  Airflow restrictions are a potential fire hazard!

  3. One of the reasons that restrictions are a potential fire hazard is that, along with water vapor evaporated out of wet clothes, the exhaust stream carries lint - highly flammable particles of clothing made of cotton and polyester.  Lint can accumulate in an exhaust duct, reducing the dryer's ability to expel heated water vapor, which then accumulates as heat energy within the machine.  As the dryer overheats, mechanical failures can trigger sparks, which can cause lint trapped in the dryer vent to burst into flames.  This condition can cause the whole house to burst into flames!  Fires generally originate within the dryer but spread by escaping through the ventilation duct, incinerating trapped lint, and following its path into the building wall.

 

House fires caused by dryers are far more common than are generally believed, a fact that can be appreciated upon reviewing statistics from the National Fire Protection Agency.  Fires caused by dryers in 2005 were responsible for approximately 13,775 house fires, 418 injuries, 15 deaths, and $196 million in property damage.  Most of these incidents occur in residences and are the result of improper lint cleanup and maintenance. Fortunately, these fires are very easy to prevent.

 


 

Click for more informationYou Should Check: Your Roof for any Needed Repairs.

There are many places that could leak on your roof.  If you have a leak, sometimes you can tell where it is entering; but, water has a way of moving around so you need to go up and inspect it.  It's always best, if you are on the roof anyhow, to inspect all places where flashing is attached and re-caulk if necessary.

Shingle

You should check you roof for nail holes, exposed nail/screw heads, loose or damaged shingles and gaps in the flashing and around vents.  A few ounces of prevention now could save you hundreds later on.

 

You can do this using a specialized caulk called "Roof Cement" and apply a generous bead around the seams where the flanges meet the vent pipes, making sure to cover any exposed nail and/or screw heads.

 

Seal vent flashing (the support for the pipe that comes out of the roof).  Using a filled caulking gun, place a generous bead between the vent pipe and the flashing.  Take a dollop of roofing cement and generously spread it under the surrounding shingles.  If there is a flashing flange, next to the vent flashing, make certain to fill the seams in between the two.

 

Make certain that the seal between the shingles is good.  If not, use roofing cement sealing beneath the shingles along the drip edge but not along the eaves.  Put the cement about 6 inches under the edge of the shingle and spread to cover the drip edge flashing.  Replace any damaged shingles you may find.

 

 

 

 


 

Click for more informationYou Should Check:

Do you have a "You Should Check" that you would like to add here.  Just email the webmaster to have it added

 


 

 

Comments