“Plan for the new season” In Arizona, Fall is the time our thermostat starts creeping to a comfortable temp that means we aren’t perspiring and grumpy! If you haven’t yet begun your fall home maintenance tasks, it’s time to get started. And, to help, we’ve gathered some tips.
Smoke alarms save lives
Fall and winter see an increase in home fires, according to the American Red Cross, and faulty smoke alarms were to blame for more than 20 percent of home fire deaths.
The good news is that it is the law in Arizona to have smoke detectors and sprinklers in the home. So now is the time to check that they’re working properly. Change the batteries if you can’t remember when they were last changed.
This is very important do you know that smoke detectors have a lifespan? Bob Nathan of Engel and Volkers strongly encourages replacing all detectors after 8 years. Technology is better, replacement is easy and the cost is low. He encourages all his clients in DC Ranch and Silverleaf in Scottsdale Arizona to pay attention.
Also, ensure that you have enough smoke alarms in the home. They should be installed outside of each bedroom and on all levels of the home.
Bob Nathan also suggests the following:
- Consider connecting your smoke alarms so that when one sounds, they all do.
- Replace all smoke alarms when they are 8 years old
- Use both ionization and photoelectric alarms throughout the home. The former detects flaming fires and the latter will warn you about smoldering fires.
Check the weather-stripping
Windows and doors are notoriously leaky, allowing our indoor air out and the outside in. Not only is this tough on your utility bills but uncomfortable for the occupants of your home as well.
Weather-stripping is the way to stop the leaks, but it’s not something that lasts forever and periodically needs to be replaced.
Try rattling your windows. If you’re successful, you probably need to replace the weather-stripping.
If you can see daylight around the door frames you’ll need to strip there as well.
It’s an easy DIY project and Sal Vaglica of This Old House offers a handy walkthrough of how to choose the right product and you can get tips on installing weather stripping from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Yes, it’s a bit of a time-consuming task, but one well worth performing. Replacing worn-out weather-stripping can save 10 to 15 percent on your energy bills this winter, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Get a tune up
Fidelity National Home Warranty offers Some home maintenance tips.
“Preventative maintenance is the best way to keep your house in great shape, reduce the risk of unexpected repairs and improve the odds of selling your home at the best possible price, when that time should come. In addition, regular maintenance of your home’s systems and appliances will increase their efficiency and lower operating costs, as well as ensure longer equipment life.” They also have a regular maintenance checklist
HVAC systems (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) last from 15 to 20 years, if properly maintained. Components within the system, however, have shorter life spans, according to the experts at ThisOldHouse.com. The heat pump, for instance will die at around 16 years after installation.
Since we’re entering into that time of year when our heating systems will start getting heavy use, call in a professional to inspect yours.
Don’t forget the home’s exterior
Step outside and inspect the exterior home from top to bottom.
- Check the gutters and if they’re clogged, clean them out and then check for leaks. Ensure that the downspouts are still directing water away from the home.
- If you have siding, check to see if it needs caulking.
- Check trees around the house and trim back any branches that might break during heavy winds.
Of course, there’s lots more you can add to your fall honey-do list, but these tasks will get you started and ensure that your home is safe and sealed from the elements.
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