Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are two of the most important devices attached to an all-encompassing home security system. Both devices can be lifesaving, but only if they are working! Smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps to warn that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away. Other alarms should have the battery replaced twice a year. Most units have a “reset” button so you can test them regularly. Unfortunately, most of these detectors are too high to reach without a ladder, making these tests difficult for seniors (and inconvenient for everyone else). We at THA will test your alarms regularly to help you feel safe in your home!
Over time, the handles, knobs, racks and other home hardware can loosen, causing a dangerous condition. If you reach for a handle that is loose, you can fall! All home hardware should be tested and tightened regularly.
One in four adults over 65 fall each year! And falls are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in older adults! Be sure all the walkways and driveways around your home are safe: remove trip hazards and repair any irregularities! If you have a trip hazard that needs to be removed, don’t wait until it’s too late! Contact THA to let our consultants help you make your home safe!
Outdoor lighting, besides being decorative, keeps your home safe. Many of these lights have bulbs that are difficult to access. Outdoor lighting should be inspected regularly and spent bulbs changed frequently. Outdoor light fixtures should be cleaned regularly.
Electric receptacles (outlets) need to be evaluated on a regular basis. Over time, wires can loosen which could potentially cause arcing, heat buildup and possibly a fire. Have someone check your outlets regularly and if you see any sparks, get the unit evaluated immediately. REMEMBER: always turn off a light or electric appliance before you unplug it!
Ground-fault circuit-interrupters, or GFCI outlets are safety devices that help protect you from electric shock. It may not be obvious if they are installed incorrectly or fail. Therefore, it’s best to test them regularly to prevent a dangerous shock.
Make sure your fire extinguisher is appropriate for your room, is not expired and does not appear damaged.
Replace or service any fire extinguisher if you find:
• The extinguisher is damaged, e.g. hose or nozzle is cracked, ripped or blocked.
• If the handle is wobbly or broken.
• The pressure gauge needle is outside of the green zone. (This means the extinguisher will need servicing immediately).
• Locking pin is missing or anti-tamper seal is broken.
• Appropriate labeling and operating instructions are missing.
Damaged driveways and walkways are not only unsightly but can also be dangerous! Driveway and walkway problems include cracks, potholes, standing water, uneven surfaces or the growth of moss, lichen, mold, mildew, or algae. Any of these things can be a trip hazard! Uneven surfaces can cause damage to car suspension as well. Check your outdoor paths and driveways often and get them repaired as soon as possible!
A garage door auto reverse is a safety feature preventing the door from closing on an obstacle, whether it be a box, person or pet! It works when either the motor senses resistance to closure, or the infrared sensors on either side of the garage opening is blocked. The garage auto-reverse should be checked regularly!
The current in a home electric system can kill! . Even changing a light bulb without unplugging the lamp can be hazardous because coming in contact with the “hot”, “energized” or “live” part of the socket could kill a person. Power cords on electrical appliances that are moved frequently, such as vacuum cleaners or power tools, can become easily damaged either at the plug or along the cord. Damaged and ungrounded power cords pose serious hazards to users of the appliance including electrical shock and risk of fire. Electric cords should be inspected regularly and repaired if damaged.
The weather in Florida is HUMID which can make dryer lint soggy. This soggy lint can block your dryer vent and lead to FIRES! Keeping the outside dryer vent clean is essential to dryer safety and efficiency and to prevent structural moisture problems. Check the exterior dryer vent regularly while the dryer is running to make sure the slats are opening freely. The vent should also be inspected for cracks or missing parts. Missing parts can allow insects and vermin to enter the ductwork and your laundry area, and no one wants that!
The Temperature Pressure Relief valve in a water heater prevents pressure overload from either heat or pressure which might result in an explosion! Check the valve regularly for leaks that can be caused by corrosion or blockage from mineral build up!
Although most gas appliances and fireplaces need little maintenance, a yearly gas inspection is prudent.
Chimneys need to be inspected regularly to be sure they are not blocked or damaged! Creosote buildups, birds nests and other damage can result in chimney fires! These inspections are best one by a chimney expert! THA can help you find a reputable service and monitor the work!
Gutters and downspouts are installed along a roof’s edge to capture and direct runoff away from your home. A clogged or damaged gutter often fails to move water away from the structure efficiently and can lead to puddling, leakage and even structural damage. A gutter filled with debris can fall resulting in expensive replacement! Inspect your gutters at least twice a year (or more frequently if damage is suspected or nearby trees lose enough leaves to potentially clog up the gutter or downspout).
The air filter in your air conditioning unit keeps dust and debris out of your AC system. When your AC filter gets clogged, dust and dirt can get into the air conditioner itself, causing wear and tear on the parts. Over time, your system may fail requiring expensive repairs or even replacement. The clogged filter also prevents enough air from flowing through the system to keep it working properly, which translates into higher electric bills. Your filter should be cleaned or replaced regularly. However, because the filter is often too low to reach easily, seniors often forgo this important chore! We at The Homestead Advantage will take care of it for you!
Bathroom caulking, while it makes a tub, sink and shower impervious to water for many, many years, it does not last forever. Over time, caulking can wear, crack, discolor and shrink, which may eventually lead to water damage. Prevent mildew, mold and water damage by maintaining bathroom fixtures.
Subsurface water and surface water run-off may constitute excess water that is detrimental to turf and other plant life. This excess water retards plant growth. Excessive surface and subsurface water will create structural damage to foundations, concrete slabs, and other building structures. So you need to check exterior drainage.
Soil and mulch buildup around your home can result in water intrusion! Likewise, plantings around your home may grow to a point that your irrigation heads splash off them and onto your home which also can result in water intrusion! Regular evaluation can prevent long-term damage! Regular inspections are part of The Homestead Advantage maintenance plans!
Air vents, heat vents and return vents can collect dust and grime, causing a block to air flow. This, on turn, can cause the AC unit to freeze or work inefficiently. Regular vacuuming of these vents should be done to prevent more expensive problems.
Central air conditioners have a drain line that must remain open to prevent water leaking into your home. This line drains condensation from the air handler to the outside. This drain should be cleaned frequently!
Termite, carpenter ant and other insects can damage homes! THA recommends regular inspections by a pest control company so any pests can be dealt with before damage occurs!
Hard water contains lots of minerals like calcium and magnesium. These minerals are not harmful to drink, but they do keep clothes from getting clean enough, can cause unsightly build up on you fixtures and over time can build up inside pipes and cause damage. Water softeners prevent these problems. The type of water softener, size of the brine tank, water hardness and household water usage all determine how much salt you need and how often you’ll need to replenish your softener’s salt supply. Make sure your softener has enough salt at all times. We will be happy to check your softener regularly and make sure it stays filled!
Garage doors need regular maintenance to prevent malfunctions which can not only be expensive to repair, but also dangerous. Moving parts can rust when they become wet and can also deteriorate over time. All the hardware, including the springs and tracks, need to be lubricate regularly with silicone spray. This is one chore THA includes in our regular maintenance schedule.
Finding a roof leak can be difficult because often the actual spot where the roof leaks is not always exactly where the water stains are appearing on your ceiling. Water can enter the roof at one point, and then run down to another before it starts to soak into the ceiling. It’s sometimes easy to spot obvious roof damage (shingles are missing or damaged, stains on ceilings or walls), but by then, you probably already have some significant water damage. Your best bet is to find the roof damage before the leaks appear.
A roof inspection is one of those preventative maintenance jobs. We need to inspect it. if there is any loose, damaged, or missing shingles then it should be replaced immediately.
Wood siding comes in many forms, including several types of boards, shingles, and sheets. Home siding should be inspected regularly and repaired if damaged to prevent water intrusion into your home and the need for costly repairs.
Carpets can add warmth to a home. However, they can be trip hazards as well if they are wrinkled or have lifted edges! Moreover, carpets that are not well maintained can hold dust mites, molds, pet hair, dead skin cells, insect feces, and other particles deep-seated in their fibers, all of which can cause health problems! Make sure your carpet is inspected regularly, vacuumed frequently and cleaned periodically!
Siding on your home can become dirty and moldy resulting in decreased home value and water intrusion or damage. Likewise, dirty windows are unsightly! Pressure washing and window cleaning need to be done correctly to prevent further damage. THA is happy to arrange for pressure washing and window cleaning from reputable tradesmen!
Weather stripping on doors and windows prevent air leaks and water leaks into your home! Over time, weather stripping deteriorates from age, friction and exposure to the elements and subsequently loses its effectiveness. If your air conditioner is working too hard, your electric bill is going up or you notice water on the floor after a storm, deteriorated weather stripping could be the cause. Check these barriers often and replace them when needed.
Peeling paint and damp areas may be symptoms of underlying water incursion. Check your walls often and fix any problem areas promptly!
Many home appliances have water hoses connecting them to the water supply or drainage system. These hoses can, over time, become damaged or cracked and start leaking. Make sure to check your hoses regularly and replace them with steel-braided lines if needed. Remember to check the connections to the appliances as well which can loosen over time. A leak into your home is not only expensive but can lead to wet floors and falls!
Good home ventilation can protect your health and save you money at the doctor’s office. Poor ventilation can cause buildup of air pollutants and mold which can contribute to asthma and other respiratory problems. Poor ventilation can also cause humidity to build up causing mold and other home damage. To keep air quality optimal, pollutants must be exhausted, indoor air must be replaced by fresh outside air, and moisture must be controlled. AC filters need to be changed regularly—sometimes as often as once a month.
Leaks cost money! A leaky faucet or toilet can waste 50-400 liters per day, depending on the size of the leak. To check for leaks in your home, first you need to determine whether you’re wasting water, then identify the source of the leak. Toilets are one of the biggest but often the most inconspicuous water-wasters. Approximately 20% of all toilets leak. To check if your toilet is a water-waster, remove the toilet tank lid and place a few drops of food coloring in the tank water. Wait at least 15 minutes, then check the bowl. If color shows in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Consult the guide below to help pinpoint the cause of a leak.
Regular garage maintenance is important! Clutter in the garage tends to grow and expand until it fills all the space in the garage. An organized garage is important to let you access the things you need easily without risk of falling as you navigate misplaced boxes or equipment. THA will be happy to help you with this important chore!
Garbage disposals need to be evaluated and cleaned regularly to prevent clogs, jams, blockages, odors and costly plumbing bills. Cleaning your garbage disposal can help prevent and remove foul odors, and some cleaning methods can also help keep the kitchen drains clear. When the kitchen sink starts giving off bad smells, it’s a sure sign that the garbage disposal and drains could use some cleaning. Regular cleaning can keep the garbage disposal clean and free of smells.
The purpose of a range hood filter is to collect grease, so if it’s doing its job correctly, it’s going to look and feel greasy. Over time, the filter may become so blocked with grease that it is no longer effective. This filter needs to be cleaned regularly to protect against grease fires and keep the air in the kitchen fresh.
Dirty garbage and trash cans are malodorous. They can also attract insects, rats, scavenging birds or raccoons! Water build-up in garbage cans can cause a buildup of mold! Trash and garbage cans should be emptied and cleaned regularly! THA can help!
Window screens can get punctured or torn, but as long as the frame is in good shape repairs are easy and can be done in a few minutes. THA can help you inspect your screens and get them repaired if needed.
Regular refrigerator maintenance involves vacuuming the condenser coils on the back or the bottom to clear out the dust and gunk about twice a year. Those coils are critical to pushing heat out, so removing the dust and dirt will make it more efficient at keeping the inside of the refrigerator cold. An inefficient refrigerator will cost more money to run.
A ceiling fan can get dirty easily! If you don’t clean it, dust builds up, the blades become unbalanced, the fan starts to wobble and make noise, and eventually will not function properly! We can help you clean your fans and balance them but, if they need to be replaced, we can find and supervise a licensed electrician to do the job!