Fall Is Here! Time to get to those home maintenance chores

Leah Guerra
Leah Guerra
Published on October 1, 2017
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Despite the sunny Los Angeles weather, fall fell on us on September 22 (for places to see actual fall leaves changing colors in Los Angeles check out this link https://goo.gl/suFM3h) and 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. Sadly, nearly 40 percent of the deaths occurred in homes that didn’t have smoke alarms, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

If you have smoke alarms in the home, now is the time to check that they’re working properly. Change the batteries if you can’t remember when they were last changed.

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.

“If you and your family sleep with the doors closed, install smoke alarms inside sleeping areas, too,” suggests the NFPA.

NFPA also suggests the following:

  • Consider connecting your smoke alarms so that when one sounds, they all do.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 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 toasty indoor air out and that frosty stuff in. Not only is this tough on your utility bills but uncomfortable for the occupants of your home as well.

Weather-stripping is an affordable way to reduce the leaks and draftiness, 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

HVAC systems (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) can 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.  

Forced air systems require seasonal maintenance as well. At the very least, stock up on filters and change them monthly during fall and winter.

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 the siding and caulk it, if needed. Also check the exterior corners, where two walls meet. Caulk there as well, if needed. For answers to questions about what should and should not be caulked, head to com and read their guide.
  • Check trees around the house and trim back any branches that might break during heavy winds.

Of course, there are many more items you can add to your fall home maintenance list, but these tasks will get you started on protecting your home and increasing the longevity of some of your systems.  If you need the name of a reliable HVAC company or other service professional, please feel free to give Leah Guerra Homes a call at 310-945-8232.

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Fall Is Here! Time to get to those home maintenance chores
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