Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common signs that I need dryer vent maintenance?

Some common signs that your dryer vent needs maintenance are lint buildup in the dryer hose or lint trap, it’s taking more than one cycle to get your clothes dry, or the dryer being hot to the touch while it’s on. 

Do I really need to have my dryer vent cleaned?

Yes. Dryer vent fires are one of the leading causes of home fires in the U.S. Clogged or dirty clothes dryer vents account for approximately 2,900 fires each year.

How can I prevent lint buildup in my dryer?

First, make sure that you clean your lint trap before each load of laundry. Second, clean your lint screen with soap and water. Just be sure it’s completely dry before replacing.

How often should I have my dryer vent professionally cleaned?

Many appliance manufacturers recommend getting your dryer vent inspected and cleaned annually by a professional.

Why is it taking longer than usual to dry my clothes?

If your dryer is heating up, but it’s taking longer to dry, or you have to run multiple cycles to get the job done, then it’s a good sign that you are overdue for a dryer vent cleaning. Lint buildup in the dryer hose or lint trap prevents free-flowing air to your dryer, reducing the amount of air coming into your dryer to dry your clothes completely.

Why is my dryer hot to the touch when it's on?

If your dryer is hot to the touch while it’s running, it has a clogged vent. Clogs restrict airflow and prevent hot air from escaping through the exhaust vent, making your dryer heat up, which may even cause a fire.

Why does my dryer smell like it's burning?

A burning smell indicates that your dryer vent needs immediate attention. It’s a sign of lint buildup that’s beginning to burn. If you notice this, immediately turn it off and have it cleaned out to prevent a fire.

How often should I clean my gutters?

We recommend cleaning your gutters twice a year, preferably in the spring and fall, especially after most of the leaves have fallen off the trees.

Why are my gutters overflowing?

The most common cause of an overflowing gutter is a clog in your downspout. Checking your downspout is easy. Put a hose in the downspout and see if water runs out the bottom.

Why do I need to clean my gutters?

Clogged gutters prevent water from flowing off your roof and away from your home, causing foundation issues, landscape erosion, flooding, and mold growth. Protect your property by maintaining your gutters and keeping them free of debris.

What does cleaning my gutters have to do with roof protection?

Clogged gutters can create water backups on your roof, causing damage, pooling water, and leaks inside your home. Keeping your gutters and downspouts free of debris will help you avoid roof damage.

Why do I need a home maintenance service?

Routine home maintenance is a great way to save money, and prolong the life and safety of your home

Why do I need to weatherproof my windows?

Weatherproofing helps prevent air leakage through your windows. Air leaks significantly reduce your home’s energy efficiency. The EPA estimates that 25-40% of the energy used to heat and cool your home is wasted by air leaks.

How do I prevent air from leaking from my windows?

Add Weatherstrips. An easy way to weatherproof windows and doors is to add weather strips to your doors and windows. These include compression, v-type, and foam strips. Weatherstrips cover the joints of your doors or windows and will prevent more air leaks.

How do I check my home for air leaks?

Check outside for any sign of cracked or peeling caulking. Caulk is an easy and effective maintenance task for weatherproofing your home and preventing air leaks.

Why do I feel a draft in my home?

The most common causes of a draft are from your doors and windows. Inspect the doors and windows for air leaks. Weatherproofing them will keep your home warmer and better insulated.

Why is my driveway or walkway cracking?

Driveways crack because of roots from nearby trees, settling over time, erosion from drainage, a water line break, or heavy loads on your concrete or asphalt driveways. Fill cracks and seal your driveway as soon as possible to avoid further damage. 

How can I prevent my driveway and walkways from cracking?

One of the best ways to protect and prolong the life of your concrete or asphalt driveway and hire a professional to apply a sealer.

How often should I seal my driveway?

How often you should seal your driveway depends on various factors. However, most professionals recommend you reseal release your driveway every 1-3 years, depending on the sealant used and the level of wear and tear your concrete or asphalt receives.

Can I apply a driveway sealer myself?

Yes. But applying driveway sealer requires much preparation to ensure it’s done correctly. And not all sealants are made alike. The best way to ensure it’s done correctly and with a quality, long-lasting product is to hire a professional to apply the sealer.

Why should I seal my driveway or walkway?

UV rays, water, gasoline, and other debris can weaken your cement and may lead to discoloration, cracking, and more. Sealing your driveway or walkway protects the cement, you’ll protect it from wear and tear and help it last longer.

Do I need to do routine maintenance on my home?

Yes. Routine home maintenance can prevent costly and potentially dangerous malfunction before it happens.

How do I prevent garage door freezing or winter malfunctions?

Cold air and melting snow contribute to special garage door hazards. Prevent winter garage door issues by filling any cracks with caulk, testing door balance, and applying weather stripping to the windows.

Why do I need to perform garage door maintenance?

Failing to maintain your home’s garage door not only detracts from your curb appeal but increases the chances of malfunctioning when you need to work most. A little bit of routine maintenance goes a long way to ensure your home’s curb appeal and ensure your garage door keeps working for you.

How do summer temps affect my garage door?

High temps and bright UV rays can deteriorate and damage a garage door or become a breeding ground for mold. Routine maintenance is an excellent way to ensure your garage door is working as it should. Plus, it adds to your curb appeal.

What maintenance does my garage door need?

Some tasks include reinforcing doors and windows, touching up paint, and adding a protective topcoat.

How often should I have my garage door serviced?

Garage doors should be professionally serviced once or twice a year. 

Is it dangerous if I don't service my garage door?

Yes. It can be. Garage door accidents account for over 20,000 injuries every year, some even fatal. Many of those accidents happen because of mechanical failure and lack of safety issues.

Can I weatherproof my dog door?

es. First, make sure that you add weather strips around the dog door. Second, make sure there is a magnet on the bottom to keep it closed (or add one). Third, you can reinforce flimsy door flaps with industrial plastic curtain material or add a second door flap if you only have one.

Can I do garage door maintenance myself?

Yes. But take proper precautions and never take on a task you aren’t comfortable performing. For your and your family’s safety, opt for a professional garage door repair service to make sure it’s done correctly.

Why do I need to change my HVAC air filter?

The HVACs air filter is an important part of ensuring that you and your HVAC have clean and breathable indoor air.

What happens if I don’t change my HVACs air filter regularly?

Blocked air filters are one of the most common causes of an HVAC system failure. Regularly inspecting and changing the air filter will help ensure the health of your heating and cooling system. 

How do dust and debris affect my HVAC system?

Dust and debris buildup in the HVAC system prevents the blower and compression from working efficiently and can cause a costly breakdown.

How often should I change my HVAC filter?

You should inspect your HVACs air filter monthly and replace it if it’s full of lint and debris. At a minimum, you should replace it every two to three months.

How often should I test my smoke detector?

You have a responsibility to test your smoke alarms every month. By pressing the test buttons, you can tell if the detectors are up to date.

How often should I replace my smoke detector?

Smoke detectors don’t get better with age. The Consumer Reports Agency emphasizes the need to replace carbon monoxide detectors after every 10 years. Old or malfunctioning sensors lose their sensitivity, putting your home at risk.

How many smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should I have in my home?

You are better off with multiple smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You should place a detector on every level of the home; bedrooms, basement, kitchen, and other rooms.

Where is the best place to place carbon monoxide detectors?

Because carbon monoxide is slightly lighter than air and may be found with warm, rising air, install detectors on a wall about 5 feet above the floor or ceiling. Do not place the detector right next to or over a fireplace or flame-producing appliance.

How do smoke and carbon monoxide detectors work?

Biomimetic detectors feature a small chamber filled with a gel that mimics carbon monoxide’s effects on the blood. When carbon monoxide particles come into contact with the gel, it changes color. The electronic sensor detects the color change triggering the alarm.

What if I can’t replace my smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on my own?
  1. If you need assistance replacing smoke detectors, we are available to help. We can send a professional to your home today to install new smoke detectors. Ambassador Home Maintenance
Should I check my electrical switches before I put up Christmas Lights?

Before you start stringing your lights, you’ll want to make sure your home is prepared. That means cleaning off windowsills and doorways, installing hooks, and (perhaps most importantly) checking your electrical switch box.

What are electrical switches?

Most people are familiar with electrical switches, even if they’re not familiar with the terminology. That’s because we use electrical switches every day in our homes. A switch is simply a device that completes an electrical circuit.

Should I get a professional to check my electrical switches before I put up my Christmas lights?

If the lights do not light up, first check the lights themselves. If the problem is with the electrical switch or the electrical outlet and not the lights, you can consult a local professional. You can also call in help if your testing tool reveals there is a wiring problem in your home.

How do I check the voltage of an electrical outlet?

Get a multimeter to measure voltage. Insert a probe into each slot and read the line voltage measurement. A properly working outlet gives a reading of 110 to 120 volts. If there is no reading, check the wiring and the outlet. Again, here is the time you may want to contact a local professional.

What if there is a problem with my electrical switch?

If there is a problem with your electrical switch and not your lights, you should turn the switch off and then cut power to the switch using your home’s circuit breaker. Next, remove the faceplate of the switch. Once you have exposed the switch, you can use a pair of pliers to disconnect the wiring connected to the switch. Then, use a circuit tester like a multimeter to see if there is still an electrical current running to the switch in question. If you aren’t sure how, or you are uncomfortable, you can consult a local professional.

Who do I call if I need to check my electrical switches or outlets?

At Ambassador Home Maintenance, we understand the importance of home upkeep. That’s why we’re happy to offer fast and comprehensive maintenance services. To find out more about what we can do for you, contact us today!

What causes mold and mildew in the bathroom?

Mold can grow almost anywhere with moisture or humidity present. Bathrooms tend to be one of the most susceptible areas because people take hot showers in enclosed spaces, resulting in excessive humidity.

How do I prevent mold and mildew in the bathroom?

Preventing mold and mildew means keeping these humidity levels as close to zero as possible. This can be done in several ways

When do I re-caulk my bathtub?

Caulk around sinks and bathtubs can become worn down over time or become old and brittle. Re-caulk bathtub and sinks with mildew-resistant caulk, at least every 4-5 years.

How often should I replace the caulk around my toilet?

The seal on the toilet is another place where mold and mildew love to grow. Clean as much as you can with a rag, but if it’s soiled, use some chlorine bleach to kill any residual mold or mildew. You should re-caulk the toilet at least once a year to keep mold and mildew from growing.

How frequently should I re-caulk around bathroom sinks?

In time, the caulk will deteriorate, and water can slip behind the base, causing rusting of metal fixtures. This can also cause mold. Check the caulk around faucets at least once every six months.

How do I keep my bathroom free from excess moisture?

If you’re diligent about keeping up regular bathroom maintenance, the chance of mold and mildew growth is a lot less. Keep an eye on moisture levels in your bathroom, especially after a shower or after baths when humidity levels are highest. If there’s excess moisture, you can open windows to let moist air out and dry air in. 

Where do I check for gas leaks in my house?

One very important way to protect your family from harm is to inspect your home for leaks regularly. Check for leaks around the stove, in furnaces, fireplaces, water heaters, and anywhere else gas may be entering your home. Leaking gas not only threatens your safety but will also add a significant expense to your utility bill.

What’s a good first step to start a home maintenance plan?

Implementing your home maintenance plan should be fairly simple. Start by writing down your home’s maintenance tasks on a calendar or spreadsheet. Next, categorize each task as either routine maintenance or periodic maintenance, depending on whether it should be done monthly, quarterly, or annually.

How do I know if there is a gas leak on my stove?

Examine the stove or oven top. When you first turn on a gas stove, the flame is usually blue. Orange or red flames on your stove burner imply that there may be a gas in the air that’s removing oxygen.

Do I need a gas detector to check for gas leaks?

Gas leak detectors are the best way to find out if you have a leak. They’re available in many varieties. Investing in a natural gas or combustible gas detector is essential for anyone using natural gas. Place gas detectors within 10 feet of natural gas appliances, such as a stove or dryer, and about six inches from the ceiling.

I think I smell sulfur. Do I have a gas leak?

If you identify a sulfur or rotten egg smell, you may have a gas leak. Most natural gas companies add mercaptan to natural gas to give it a distinct aroma.

Are there companies that can do all of my home maintenance checks and fixes for me?

Checklists help keep your home in balance, but do you have the time to perform all the tasks? Don’t worry – if you’re not sure where to start, you can request a 21 point home maintenance checklist from Ambassador Home Maintenance and have pros on hand to help.

Am I supposed to check for leaks under my dishwasher and refrigerator?

The dishwasher pan is the place where water collects. And a drip pan is the part beneath your refrigerator. Check both of these places for water leaks. Drip pans and pans are often made from plastic, so they’re prone to wear and tear. After a few years, they tend to break down and fall apart from frequent use. Include these areas in your home maintenance inspection.

Can the water-using appliances in my home have leaky hoses?

One of the first places you should check for water leak issues is the water hoses for appliances. Supply lines bringing water to your appliances may spring a leak from time to time. Most leaks occur at the end of the line rather than the beginning. So, check your connectors. Make sure to use a clean, dry tissue when checking moisture inside your lines. If it’s a cold-water line, you may find natural condensation. 

There is water on the floor in front of my washing machine, what do I do?

One of the most common places you’ll find a water leak includes the drain line. This also includes your drain lines within your washing machine and dishwasher. If the seal where the drain line connects starts cracking, that may be the cause. Check the seals often to make sure they don’t have cracks inside them.

What is the foul smell around my refrigerator?

There are many water leak signs you should look for as a homeowner. Some of these signs include puddles under appliances and foul-smelling odors. High-risk areas include sinks and dishwashers. Don’t forget to check connector lines and water hoses for appliances. Most connectors and seals deteriorate over time.

Should I regularly check my drains to avoid blockages?

There are many common causes of drain blockages, you should probably begin a sewer line maintenance plan. Begin with regular drain cleaning. Whether you do it yourself or get in the professionals, a preventative maintenance plan is always best. You can also check out this handy 21 Point Home Maintenance Checklist to get you started.

What is my home drain cleanout?

You’ll find your drain cleanout typically outside your home or in the yard. They protrude a few inches off the ground and look like capped pipes. These can start to stink if they get clogged up and dirty. To clean, use a bit of bleach in the pipes every once in a while, and make sure they’re full of water. Always remember to replace the cap securely.

Should I worry about roots in my home plumbing lines?

Before planting that tree you’ve always wanted, a little research can save you a considerable headache later. Tree roots are a common cause of blocked drains and damaged sewer lines. Roots naturally spread to find water, so if the closest is your wastewater in your drain, the roots will head there, resulting in damage or clogs.

Can I snake my own drains?

Invest in a snake.  No, not the reptile kind, but the one that removes minor clogs in your pipes like your laundry room pipes. Use them carefully, so they don’t damage your lines. You feed the auger into the drain and then twist or cut through the clog. If you find the snake is unsuccessful, it’s time to call for a professional, which you can do with a quick “sewer and drain cleaning near me” search online.

Is it safe to use drain cleaners very often?

A quick and easy solution for minor clogs in your drains is baking soda and vinegar. When you combine these two ingredients, the chemical reaction causes the soda to effervesce, which helps break away any grime. You can also use sewer cleaner, but use caution as too much drain cleaner can also damage your bare pipes. You can use this method a couple of times a year.

Do I need to get my HVAC serviced in the winter?

From improving air quality to saving money, the benefits of regular HVAC maintenance are big. And did you know that winter is one of the best times to tackle this task? While you can service air conditioners in the spring, the winter months are ideal for furnace checks.

How often should I change my air filter in the winter?

Changing the filter in your furnace needs to be part of your maintenance checklist during the winter. After all, you don’t want dirty air circulating throughout your home. A technician can do this during a home maintenance visit, but you should aim to do this every 3 months.

How do I know if my HVAC air filter isn’t working properly?

Dirty filters will look discolored. But even without the visual cue, you’ll be able to sense a dirty filter in other ways. You’ll see higher bills since your furnace is less effective, and you could experience respiratory issues from dirty air. You should aim to change them every 3 months.

Is there a way to make my HVAC system last longer?

If you’re on a tight budget, the thought of spending thousands of dollars on a new furnace or air conditioner may sound daunting. Fortunately, regular HVAC maintenance can diagnose issues before they snowball into something worse. Putting off HVAC repair service only increases the chances of an expensive problem.

How do I get my HVAC unit to blow warmer air?

Fixing HVAC units may involve repairing or replacing blower motors, which push warm air through your home. It could also mean replacing an igniter or thermostat. If any of these parts aren’t working properly, your home might not be very warm!

Is it ok to prune my trees in cold weather?

Just because the weather turns frosty doesn’t mean you should stop your tree work (or other home maintenance tasks, for that matter). Winter pruning is just as important as summer pruning, and putting off doing yours until the cold disappears could damage your trees.

How do I stop diseases on my trees?

Proper pruning should be carried out all year round to prevent diseases from spreading. Many of these diseases will be dormant in your tree during the winter, which means there’s less chance of them spreading as you carry out your pruning, keeping your foliage safe and healthy.

Will pruning my trees in winter kill new growth?

On the contrary, by cutting your tree back in winter, you make way for new branches to come through in spring. It encourages growth and creates a more beautiful tree.

Are my trees more likely to get diseases because of pruning them?

When pruning in warm weather, your tree is more susceptible to pathogens and destructive insects. By pruning in the winter, you keep them safe from these things and give them plenty of time to heal before the hot sunshine is back and they’re ready to grow again!

Why should I prune my trees?

Every tree needs slightly different care. From varying water needs to aversions to sunlight, if you want your own tree to thrive, it’s vital you pay attention to its specific needs! But, there is one aspect of tree maintenance that’s essential across species: tree pruning.