Every year, we all hear lots of talk about spring cleaning tips and strategies. However, with cold weather fast approaching, fall is the perfect time to address important autumn maintenance tasks around the house. With the summertime grilling season over and the holiday season not quite yet here, it’s time to get to work on a to-do list that will keep your home well-maintained and safe this winter.
Common autumn maintenance items include making sure your furnace and fireplace are functioning properly before you need to put them into use, cleaning up the garage, changing the batteries in all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and giving your home security system a once-over to make sure everything is functioning as it should be.
Once the holidays kick into swing, it gets tough to take on any additional tasks, so it’s always helpful to tackle this list early. Taking care of these while the weather is still nice will ensure that everything is running smoothly throughout your home all year long — especially when it comes to home security.
The Keys to Proper Fireplace and Furnace Maintenance
In the wintertime, there’s nothing like sitting in front of a roaring fireplace or bumping up the heat on your furnace to a cozy temperature. However, both of these items require a bit of autumn maintenance to make sure they’re working correctly. Fireplace and furnace maintenance will not only ensure that your family stays warm all season; it’s necessary to prevent fire and carbon monoxide hazards.
If your home has a fireplace, it’s essential to have it and your chimney cleaned regularly. This will help prevent a buildup of creosote, or the black stuff that collects on your fireplace and chimney walls. If it’s not cleaned off, a thick layer of creosote is combustible and can cause a fire. While a chimney sweep log can help reduce this buildup, a good rule of thumb is to have a professional cleaning done after 50 uses or one year.
Although furnaces don’t require chimney maintenance, they do require annual furnace inspections, especially if they’re more than 10 years old. Part of your autumn maintenance list should be to have a certified technician check the furnace for blockages, leaks, damage, and proper function.
Fireplace and furnace maintenance should also include a thorough check around all of these areas to make sure there’s nothing combustible nearby. This is also a good time to do a cleaning and battery check of all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. While some homeowners may not feel that carbon monoxide detectors are necessary, fireplaces and gas furnaces are common sources of carbon monoxide poisoning, so having functioning detectors can save lives.
In addition to smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, it’s also helpful to install temperature sensors that will detect any rise in temperature as a result of a fire. Tying all of these into your home security system will ensure that they’re monitored and help is immediately on the way should anything go awry.
The Importance of a Garage Clean-Out
Autumn maintenance time also offers an excellent excuse to tackle the garage. Your garage clean-out list should include securing, cleaning out, or getting rid of any dangerous chemicals that may pose a fire hazard or a risk. This is also a good time to get rid of any items you don’t use. Doing so will help you make more space in the garage for your cars, sleds and other cold-weather fun items, as well as salt, shovels, and other items you’ll need for wintertime home maintenance. This way, you can find the items you need more quickly (and avoid slipping and tripping over everything else as you make your way through the garage).
As with the rest of your home, ensuring proper garage security is essential. While moving down your garage clean-out list, take time to make sure that all of the doors and windows in your garage shut and lock securely. If the doors and windows of your garage are fitted with security sensors (and they should be), ensure that they’re working. Motion detector lights and security cameras can add an extra layer of protection and work as a thief deterrent. Rather than installing smoke detectors, temperature sensors are ideal for the garage where humidity, car exhaust, and other factors can make smoke detectors less reliable.
Change Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Batteries
Speaking of smoke detectors, fall maintenance time is an excellent time to make sure your home is up-to-date on fire safety. With fireplaces, space heaters, and holiday candles aglow, wintertime is a prime time for house fires. In fact, the U.S. Fire Administration reminds us that house fires are responsible for 890 deaths and $2 billion in property loss each year. Combine that with the risks posed by carbon monoxide and this makes smoke and carbon monoxide detectors extremely important during the winter months.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors aren’t stick-em-and-forget-em; they require maintenance throughout the year. It’s not enough just to change your smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries, either — ensuring all detectors are working correctly requires a bit more attention.
First, all detectors should be tested monthly. That way, you know they’re functioning properly in between battery checks. Smoke detector batteries only need to be changed once a year, but carbon monoxide detector batteries should be changed twice a year. Many people like to do this during the beginning or end of daylight saving time when they move their clocks forward or back. When replacing the batteries, take the time to vacuum the inside of each detector to remove dirt, dust, and debris. This can interfere with the working components and prevent the detector from properly identifying trouble.
Do an Autumn Maintenance Security Check
As mentioned before, once the holiday season begins to roll, things get busy. This is why autumn maintenance time affords a great opportunity to take care of your home security system. Adding a home maintenance security check to the list will ensure that your home and family are safe and protected as well as warm and cozy.
If you’ve had trouble with your home security system in the previous months, fall is the best time to address it. Your security system may be too basic or it may have been triggering a number of false alarms, for example — something that will be deeply concerning as valuable presents begin to pile up underneath your Christmas tree. Have a technician come out and check any sensors that may be faulty.
A home maintenance security check may reveal that it’s time to do a security upgrade to ensure that you have full coverage and are properly protected. This might include installing additional sensors to doors and windows that have been left vulnerable. Upgrading your security system might also include video cameras that will allow you to visually check and verify whether an alert is triggered by a threat or a false alarm. Today’s advanced home security systems offer remote access that allows you to check-in from anywhere via a smartphone or a computer. In addition to video verification, these systems allow you to control door locks, lights, thermostats, and other parts of your home. Whether you’re just at work or traveling during the fall months and holiday season, this can offer huge peace of mind.
Taking care of home maintenance security as part of your autumn maintenance items will help ensure that your family is well-protected from any type of threat, from fire and carbon monoxide to garage and home burglary.
At ProTech Security, we have a strong history of experience, innovation, and customer service. The ProTech Security Advantage is more than 35 years of service in Northeast Ohio and a strong commitment to providing quality, cost-effective protection for homes, businesses, educational institutions, and government facilities. To see what ProTech Security can do for you, contact us today.