Maintenance Tips

Updated July, 2014
NOTE: For a full description of maintenance procedures, see your owner’s manual. In the event of a discrepancy between these guidelines and the owner’s manual, follow the owner’s manual or consult the manufacturer.

Door hardware/latches/hinges

Use spray silicone lubricant to lube all interior and exterior door latches/locks and hinges. Perform annually. The locksets are by Yale.

Entry Lockset: Yale deadbolt from the YH collection, “Homestead” in Antique Brass.

Interior doors: Woodland “New Traditions” – Privacy #201 in Antique Brass.

Exterior doors: Woodland “New Traditions.” Entry know/lever #701 in Antique Brass.

The following Albuquerque dealers handle Yale:

  • OrePac- 5815 Edith Blvd. NE, 87101, 345-8135
  • National Trim & Cabinet Supply, 7447 Pan Am Fwy NE, 341 6950
  • Lumber Inc. Door & Trim, 6700 Bluewater NW 87121, 823-2700
  • Builtrite Inc., 812 Broadway Blvd NE, 87102, 247-4308

Faucet & Shower Aerators

Remove all faucet and showerhead aerators annually and soak in vinegar for 2-4 hours to remove mineral deposits. You may need to scrub with a toothbrush or scouring pad. Rub with baking soda to neutralize and rinse, then reinstall. All MOEN faucets are 100% guaranteed against leaking or dripping for a Lifetime by calling 1-800-321-6636. Perform annually.


If full optional full shutdown was performed in the spring, turn “ON” gas line (with key @ wall) feeding fireplace. Open lower access panel and turn red gas valve to “ON” and gas control knob to “PILOT. Depress and hold switch valve at “PILOT” position, push RED igniter button until pilot is lit and hold “PILOT” button in for one minute. Turn gas control knob to “ON”. Raise front panel. Check operation by turning on wall switch. If you smell gas at any time, shut off gas valve and wait 5 minutes before attempting to re-light the pilot.

No action is needed to turn off pilot if you do not wish to perform full shutdown. Optional shutdown: In the spring, turn gas valve “OFF” on gas line (with key @ wall) feeding fireplace. Open lower access panel and turn red gas valve to “OFF” and gas control knob to “OFF”. Unit is now shut down for summer season. No gas is burning. Remove and clean glass front as needed. Cost to burn pilot light is about $2/month. Fireplace service/repairs by Mountain West Sales @ 888-4464 (Mark or John).

Garage Doors

Rust thrives in dark, moist, hard-to-reach areas-especially in the garage. To help protect your garage door from rust, try wiping it down twice a year with a mild household detergent and a soft cloth, and then lubricating it. Springs, cables, rollers and other hardware should be inspected regularly to ensure your garage door stays in good working order. Remember to wash the door regularly with a garden hose to keep it clean from dirt, dust and bugs. Since oiled tracks collect dirt, clean the tracks, rollers, and hinges with a rag dampened in paint thinner. Lubricate all moving parts of your garage door regularly with a product like Blaster GDL Garage Door Lube or the new 3-IN-ONE Professional Garage Door Lube, specifically designed for the maintenance of garage door systems. Other oils will attract dust and dirt. Simply apply the lubricant to hinges, door tracks, chains, pulleys and latches to stop sticking and squeaking. You can also use the product to prevent rust and corrosion-just don’t forget to wipe off any excess oil. No need to lubricate the motor. Tighten all bolts on hinges and rollers. Check chain tension and door safety operation by placing object in path of closing door. Clean the weather stripping around the frame and bottom edge with vinyl cleaner and lubricate it once every other month with a silicone-based product to keep the stripping pliable. Serviced by Overhead Door Co. @ 821-0865. Perform twice a year.

Gas Fired Boiler (Radiant Heater)

Check monthly (in season) for pilot and burner flames. Check for drips or leaking at all pipes. In the spring, set all thermostats to lowest setting. Optional full shutdown: Unplug 110V AC cord from wall that serves boiler. Turn gas valve off on gas line feeding boiler. Open access panel and turn gas control knob to “OFF”. Unit is now shut down for summer season. No gas is burning. Cost to burn pilot light is about $2/month. No draining or refilling of lines required.

In the fall, if you did not perform the optional full shutdown, just turn up thermostats. OPTIONAL fall start-up: Verify all thermostats are at lowest setting. Be sure unit is unplugged. Turn on gas valve on gas line to boiler. Open access panel and turn gas control knob to “PILOT”. Find pilot, push in RED reset button and light pilot with match and hold for one minute. Replace access panel and turn gas control knob to “ON”. Plug in 110V AC cord. Set thermostats to desired setting. Replace front panel. Thermocouples generate a thermoelectric current that senses a pilot flame on gas-fired heating systems. The pilot flame heats the tip of the thermocouple, producing a temperature differential between it and the base. This temperature difference generates a small amount of DC power, measured in millivolts.The thermocouple will need replacing every 4-7 years due to the pilot flame constantly being on the unit. A replacement is Honeywell “Bullseye” universal thermocouple model # Q340A1090, 36” long. (Voltage (mV) 30 mV. They run about $15.00.

During operation, the pressure gauge on side may read less than “10” on the H20 PSI scale and the temperature may be as low as 90 degrees, but generally 120-140. Repairs by Vince Gallipoli @ 298-8560 (cell # 263-1835). Perform in spring and fall.

Hot Water Heater

The minimum maintenance recommended for a hot water heater is as follows. The temperature relief valve on the top of the tank is designed to protect the tank against sharp increases in water pressure by allowing steam to escape. The temperature relief valve should be checked at least once a year. The water is very hot, so wear gloves and eye protection. Gently lift the small lever on the end of the valve. A small amount of water should exit through the overflow tube to the exterior of the garage. If no water emerges or if water continues to leak out after the valve is released, the valve is defective and should be replaced immediately.

In areas with high mineral content (hard water), some water should be drained from the tank annually to help remove scale and deposits that can interfere with efficient operation. (It is not necessary to shut off the pilot for this procedure, however, use caution since the water is very hot!) Connect a hose to the drain valve and terminate other end outside or at a suitable drain. Opening the drain valve at the base of the tank and letting out a few gallons is adequate. For draining these small amounts of water, the cold water inlet at the top of the tank can be left open to help provide a flushing action. Perform annually.

FULL INSTRUCTIONS (from manufacturer) FOR HOT WATER HEATER DRAINING (Optional): Turn gas control valve knob at base of water heater to “OFF”. Close cold water inlet valve to water heater (knob on copper line near top of water heater). Open a nearby (laundry room) hot water faucet and leave open for draining. Remove outer cover below gas control valve. Connect a hose to the drain valve and terminate other end outside or at a suitable drain. Open the drain valve for draining and wait until hose stops running. Close drain valve. Open cold water inlet to water heater and fill while nearby hot water faucet is still open for escaping air. Allow water to fill until a full stream is coming out of nearby hot water faucet. Vacuum around water heater and burner while pilot is not lit. To re-light water heater, set thermostat to lowest setting. Insure gas control is “OFF”. Remove inner door below gas control unit by lifting up. Find pilot tube from gas control located in front of burner. If you do not smell gas, turn gas control valve counter clockwise to “PILOT”. Push in control knob all the way and hold down. Immediately light pilot with a match and hold control know in for 1 minute. Replace inner door. Replace outer door. Turn gas control knob to “ON”. Set thermostat to desired setting. Verify that burner came on. Perform annually.

Mastercool Evap A/C

In the spring, remove the sheet metal or canvas cover (if so equipped) covering the pads. Check the pads for reuse. If they are 5 years old they should be replaced. Most Centex homes had MasterCool MC43/44 units installed. The replacement pads are 40” W x 23” H x 8” D. You can purchase either MasterCool Universal replacement pads # 110133-1 for the MC43/44 units from Lowes for about $84.99 or the Aspen Snow Cool generic pads from Home Depot for $76.71. Remove the damper between the cooler and house. Remove the wet section cover of the cooler (and side covers if needed). Place belt back on pulleys; check belt tension and inspect. The belt (most are #4L570; 57” V-belts) should deflect about ½” to ¾” in the middle of the span. Remove water pump (should be unplugged from fall cleaning) and release the four snap-out tabs and lift impeller base plate from pump body. Wash all deposits on impeller and base plate with mild detergent and rinse. Spin the impeller to dislodge foreign material. Reinstall base plate and water pump. Clean (or replace) the pump screen basket. Oil blower shaft bearings with SAE 20-30W oil (and every three months during operation). No oil required for the motor or pump. Wash the inlet (side that faces outside) side of the pad with a garden hose and nozzle to remove mineral deposits and dust. Use a scraper on hard deposits. Clean water distribution pipe (above pads) by rubbing a sponge with mild detergent over the length of tube. Rinse the pan out and place overflow standpipe into drain bushing in pan. Touch up any peeling or rusting paint. DO NOT undercoat the water reservoir or use cooler cleaners or treatments. Check set screws and nuts on pulleys and blower. Plug in motor and pump. Reconnect the copper tubing between the faucet and cooler and turn on water. Fill reservoir pan with water and check float for proper water level. Check the bleed-off (if used) for proper bleed rate per the owner’s manual. Turn on pump to check for proper flow from water distribution tube. Check for dry spots in pad. Turn on blower and check for operation. Close up cooler. Pad should be replaced after 5 years.

In the fall, turn off hose bib and water line valve and disconnect copper tubing at both ends and remove water from line. OPEN second faucet and water line valve attached to outside hose bib and leave open all winter to prevent freezing and cracking of hose bib on house. Failure to leave the second faucet open may cause the hose bib attached to the house to freeze and crack. Insert damper between cooler and house. Remove overflow standpipe and drain the pan. Unplug the motor and pump. Remove belt from pulleys. Wash down the pad, pump screen basket and pan. Rinse pan out and replace cooler top. Place sheet metal or canvas cover (if so equipped) over front of cooler. Wax exterior surface with automotive wax. (Sheet metal covers for the inlet side of the MasterCool’s are available for about $15-25 each from A&G Heating & A/C at 9102 2nd St. NW @ 898-1636.)

To prevent the expensive pads from becoming clogged with cotton from the cottonwood trees, order a pair of 24 ½” x 40 ½” screens from Mobile Glass at 8650 Indian School Rd NE (294-0542) and install over the front of the inlet. Order it in almond color without “springs or tabs” and ask for the aluminum mesh. (This is for the standard MC44B unit- verify your size) They should run about $17-20 each. You can then just brush off the cotton as it accumulates.

Rain Gutters

The rain gutters should be cleared of leaves and debris and rinsed well with a garden hose with nozzle. Perform in spring and fall.

Sewage Grinder

If you live in the East half of Bosque del Rio, you probably have a sewer grinder. If you have not been doing maintenance on the unit at least semi-annually, you may be in for a large repair bill. It is nasty, but easy to clean. Remove the bolts (9/16” socket) on the fiberglass cover and tilt it up-no need to disconnect electrical lines through the cover. Remove any build-up of soap scum and dirt on float, pump and on walls of the cylinder with a strong spray of water from garden hose. Scrape walls if necessary. To empty the unit, continuously run the pump without the float by disconnecting the pump plug from the side of the adapter that is plugged into the wall, and re-plug pump electrical cord directly into wall instead of into side of adapter plug (pump will run continuously, so do not leave this way). Replace lid and run water to test pump. If the unit is not regularly cleaned, it may clog the pump and stop working. Test alarm by depressing button on alarm panel. Repairs by T&P Pump @ 247-4036. Life of pump is 5-7 years. The sewage grinder pump costs about $2,100 plus about $300 in labor to replace. Perform at least semi-annually or quarterly if possible.

Smoke Detectors

Replace the 9V battery in each detector. Most detectors installed may have a swing-out tray for the battery and the cover may not need to be removed. Test for operation. Perform annually.


Check each bubbler on the end of each drip hose feeding a plant. Remove bubbler insert (rotate 180 degrees and pull out to remove & insert in reverse) and check for flow and replace if necessary. Check timers for start times and length of operation. Update timer in fall for less watering and increase in spring. Turn off automatic watering in late fall and manually operate system about every two weeks if warm weather permits. Turn off main control valve with sprinkler key in front of house between the two-week watering cycle in the winter. Perform in spring and fall. Drip sprinkler supplies available at Neumark Irrigation Supplies @ 811 Rankin Rd. NE, 345-7847


Check interior and exterior paint and caulking for peeling or cracking and patch/caulk or repair as necessary. Check stucco and patch as needed. Perform in spring and fall. Apply a water sealant (like Thompson’s WaterSeal Clear Wood Protector) on the 1” x 4” wood fencing.

Whirlpool Spa Tub

Bacteria will form in the piping so you should clean it every 2-3 months. Close the air control knob and fill tub with cool water (2” above highest jet) and add 2 teaspoons of automatic dishwashing detergent and 1/2 cup of household bleach for a standard size tub, (a full cup for a large tub). Run whirlpool for 10-15 minutes and then drain. Refill with cool clear water and run for 10-15 minutes and drain. PRO-FIT Customer Service @ 800-999-1459. Local service by HydroAir Spa of NM @ 823-1700.

Window Screens

In the spring, remove screens from storage and wash with a sponge and mild detergent and water. Rinse and let dry. Install. In the fall, remove screens and place in a safe place.

Large Item Pickup

Call 311 to pick up any large items.

Tree Removal

Tree removal of any dead trees or shrubs is critical. These items are not only unsightly they also pose a fire danger.


They are a nuisance and pose a health threat. When possible eliminate standing water around the home that can provide breeding habitats for mosquitoes. Drain pots of standing water and maintain backyard pools, pet bowls, ponds, and bird baths.

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