Useful Information for Tenants & Home Owners

Cold Weather and Water Pipes
Yes, even in Central Texas it can get cold and water pipes can freeze and even burst if not "winterized" properly.
Here is some good information on what to do when we get extreme cold weather:

Letting the Water "Run"!
Letting the faucets drip during extreme cold weather can prevent a pipe from bursting.  It's not that a small flow of water prevents freezing; this helps, but water can freeze even with a slow flow.  rather, opening a faucet will provide relief from the excessive pressure that builds between the faucet and the ice blockage when freezing occurs.  If there is no excessive water pressure, there is no burst pipe, even if the water inside the pipe freezes.  a dripping faucet wastes some water, so only pipes vulnerable to freezing (the ones that run through an unheated or unprotected space) should be left with the water flowing.  the drip can be very slight.  Even the slowest drip at normal pressure will provide pressure relief when needed.  Where both hot and cold lines serve on spigot, make sure each one contributes to the drip, since both are subjected to freezing.  If the dripping stops, leave the faucet(s) open, since a pipe may have frozen and will still neet pressure relief.

If You Suspect a Frozen Pipe:
If you open a faucet and no water comes out, DO NOT take any chances.  Call a plumber!!  If a water pipe bursts, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve (usually at the water meter or where the main line enters the house); leave the faucet(s) open until repairs are completed.  DO NOT try to thaw the frozen pipe with an open flame; as this will damage the pipe and may even start building fire.  You might be able to thaw a pipe with a hand-held hair dryer.  Slowly apply heat, starting close to the faucet end of the pipe, with the faucet open.  Work toward the coldest section.  Don't use electrical appliances while standing in water; you could get electrocuted.
If a pipe bursts due to the tenants neglect, it is the tenants responsibility to pay for repairs on the water pipes.

Air Conditioning & Heating Systems

It is important that, no matter what time of the year, you change the air condition filter at least every 30 days to prevent any kind of dirt/dust build up on the air conditioner/heating system coils.  As a tenant it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to make sure that you replace these filters at least every 30 days while renting the property.  If he air conditioning system "breaks" down, and the air conditioning service company has to clean the coils due to neglect of the tenant, it will be the tenant responsibility to pay for such coil cleaning.

In the Texas heat it is always good to have a good working air conditioner.  If it is 100 F degrees outside and your air conditioner cools your home down to 78F degrees, that is EXCELLENT!!!
An ac system can cool your house no less than about 20 degrees less than the outside temperature.  The air coming out of your ducts is probably around 68F degreees and the rest is lost to insulation factors.  
Yes, it is hot, and air conditioners are taxed to their performance limits to try to keep up with cool air demands.  Here are some basics that you need to know about running your ac system:
- turn up the thermostat a couple degrees and be happy with 76F to 78F degree temeperatures indoors.
- close off unused rooms - close doors and ents - don't cool what you do not use.
- shade your windows on the sunny side of the house.
- cook outdoors - enjoy the summer BBQ.
- don't use the dry cycle on the dishwasher - leave the door open and let them air dry.
- don't run clothes dryer during the heat of the day.
- use ceiling fans to rotate the air in your home.
Just remember:  Air Conditioners are designed for a 15-20 degree temperature differential between inside and outside!!!

Grease and Other "Things" ind Drain Lines and Garbage Disposals

NEVER EVERpour cooking grease into the kitchen sink.  It will cause blaockage in the drain lines and a plumber will have to be called to unstop the blockage.
If you hace a garbage disposal in your kitchen, you know it's a great appliance that makes household duties less demanding.  But if not operated of maintained properly, a garbage disposal can easily break down, block and clog the drains and cause a long list of expensive plumbing and drain nightmares.
Clogged drains are a majoyr inconvenience and garbage disposal repair can be a costly proposition.  Fortunately, most garbage disposal troubles are completely unnessecary, and garbage disposal care and maintenance is extremely easy.  Treat your garbage disposal well, and it will treat you well, in return.  Below, we describe the mistakes you should avoid and the actions you should take in order to keep your garbage disposal working smoothly for many years and minimize the likelihood that you will need to call for plumbing or drain cleaning services.

Garbage Disposal Do's:
- Do keep your garbage disposal clean.
- Do run your garbage disposal regularly.
- Do grind food waste with a strong flow of cold water.
- Do grind hard materials such as small chicken/fish bones, and egg shells.
- Do grind peelings from citrus fruits (oranges or lemons).
- Do cut large items into smaller pieces.  Do not "overload"!

Garbage Disposal Don'ts:
- Don't grind glass, plastic, metal or even paper.
- don't grind anything combustible.
- Don't grind cigarette butts.
- Don't pour grease, oil or fat into your garbage disposal or drain.
- Don't use hot water when grinding food waste.
- Don't grind fibrous material like corn huskers, celery stalks, onion skins, etc.
- Don't turn off the motor or water until grinding is complete.
- Don't put too many potato peels down the garbage disposal.
- Don't put large amounts of food down the garbage disposal.
- don't put expandable foods into your garbage disposal (rice, pasta, etc.).
- Don't grind large animal bones (beef, pork, etc.)
- Avoid putting coffee grounds down the garbage disposal.
​- Don't use harsh chemicals like bleach or drain cleaners.