Seasonal Reminder Summer 2013

July 13, 2013

Sprinkler1Summer is Here!!! You can plan on one thing here in Texas, the weather is always changing. While both the East and West Coasts have been having bad weather, its been quite pleasant here. Being nearly half way through July, we have only seen about 3-4 days over 100. It’s been GREAT!!. This seasonal reminder is more about making sure everything continues to work well through the stress and strain of the summer months more than anything. If you live near me, getting these things done before 10 AM in the morning is the best time of the day, otherwise you may wait till after 6 PM or so (stay hydrated; regardless).  If you need details on what to look for or what to do, click on the link (if there is one) and it will take you to the post that was written on the subject and provide more detail.

  1. Heating/Cooling-Air Filters: If you live in a dusty area and/or have been using your air conditioner a lot, inspect you filter and change it if it has noticeable build up from your spring change out.
  2. 100_0233HVAC Outdoor Unit: We did this in the spring and it’s good to do it again as vegetation has been growing through the spring months. Get your garden trimmers out and trim away any vines or growth away from the  outside condenser. You should have 18″ to 2 feet of clearance around the unit. Airborne particles generated by the blooming of trees and flowers can easily show up around the air conditioning condenser. Take your water hose and wash down the outside coils. Check the condensation drain that comes from the air handler in the house. Ensure that it is clear of obstacles or debris by pouring water through it.
  3. Water Leaks: Check all water fixtures and toilets for leaks. Inspect fixture drains for water puddles or loose joints in the traps.
  4. Water Heaters: Make a visual inspection of the water heater. Look for dripping water and rust stains. Look at the exhaust flue to ensure it is still sealed. If its time to drain the tank or replace the anode, check the link for more details.
  5. Lawn Sprinklers: Even though we performed this maintenance during the spring, yard work and vegetation growth can cause some additional sprinkler maintenance. Exercise the system (again). Look for excessive water traveling down the driveway or sidewalks. Inspect the sprinkler heads, look for blow-by, odd spray patterns, missing heads, pooling water and brown spots.  Replace or repair the heads. Chasing Lawn Sprinkler Leaks is the first of the series and covers the inspection, leak detection, repairs and tips in more detail.
  6. 100_0503Exterior Inspection:  Walk round the house, look for bird and wasp nests, as well as locations that rodents might be using to get in the house. Use caulk to re-seal  any breaches in structure that may be an entry point for rodents or bugs.  They are all looking for cool locations and possible water. If you are not opposed to using perimeter bug spray, this is a good time.
  7. Interior Inspection: Flush kitchen and bathroom sinks with scalding hot water for approximately 3-5 minutes to clear out any build up. “Water Leaks”, cover this item too.
  8. Appliances: Use a hand-held vacuum cleaner to clear the dust bunnies from around all appliances such as washers, dryers and  dish washers. Pull you refrigerator out from the wall and do the same. If it’s within your skill set, turn off the unit, pull the back cover off,  and vacuum out the condenser coils and all the dirt around the fan.
  9. 100_0206Surface Water Drainage: Gutters, culverts, waterways and landscape drainage systems should be cleared of debris and overgrowth that has occurred.
  10. Electrical Service: Inspect the Entrance, Mast and Weather-head. With tree limbs heavy with leaves, seed pods, fruits and nuts, you may have some limbs that are drooping on your electrical service lines.
  11. Electrical Service-Smoke Detectors: Clean your smoke detectors of cob webs and change the battery.
  12. Test your security system: Work with monitoring service to validate all the door, window, glass break, and motion sensors operate properly.

If you are needing some additional information on one of the topics that I have not written about, let me know and I will put it higher on the list of articles to write. Email to HomeownerBOB@gmail.com

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Testing Home Alarm Systems

January 21, 2013

Home Security Alarm Systems are probably one of the most overlooked household safety items. We all assume they will work properly when needed. If you are a follower of this blog, you have figured out that I like to fix it before it breaks and know how to use it when needed. I read most manuals , and try to troubleshoot something before calling a repairman.( I am really not that boring, but fairly predictable)  With all that said, many of us spend $100 to $500 a year to have our house monitored, but beyond about 3-5 false alarms a year, we rarely use much of the service provided.

This post will cover the basics of how to inspect your system. Even though you can call out a technician (for a fee) you can do most of analysis yourself. Typically the monitoring service will work with you over the phone as you cycle  the system. Since every system is a little different, you need to refer to your owners manuals to validate the exact process or method. My attempt here will be to generically walk you through the various stages and elements of the system.

Pre Inspection Check list

  1. Registration: Many municipalities require residential security systems be registered with the local police department. Typically, the fee is around $25. per year. Yes, it is an additional method of revenue generation for your local city, however if you fail to register the system they will (excessively) fine you for false alarms, as well as discontinue any dispatches. Ensure your registration is paid and up to date. Some municipalities will just refuse to dispatch without an up to date registration
  2. Documentation: Locate any/all alarm programming manuals. You might pre-read them prior to calling the alarm monitor center.
  3. Phone Connection: Assuming the installed system is monitored by an alarm center, there should be either a phone line connected or a Cell phone transmitter. If you don’t have your system monitored, you can still perform most of the tests. The assumed response upon activation will be an audible alarm.
  4. Phone Dialer: Some DIY systems have an outbound phone dialer. It can be set up to call a cell phone, pager, friend, but the police will not accept these calls direct. Typically this includes a recorded message to the intended receiving party. This is a cheap way to have a monitored system without paying the monthly fee.
  5. Alarm Monitor Center: Contact your alarm center to make sure all your contact information is current. This would include your primary and secondary contact numbers. As added insurance, ask the Center what number they would call from to contact you in case of an alarm condition.  (it may not be the main number). Program this number in your cell phone as “HOME ALARM“, so when you get the call, you will answer it.  With all that said, be ready to answer any password protection codes to further the dialog.

Security System Testing: Since there are dozens of alarm system types, they are all a little bit different. This method is generic and you may have to make a few changes or additions for your specific brand. Some tests can be performed without actually creating a real alarm. Most of the tests can be performed without monitor center but they need to be aware of the tests you are preparing to perform. Before you get started, call them and ask them if they can work with you over the phone to test the features of the system. This will get you through most of them. If you are testing anything that will provide an active alarm. Tell them you will be testing within a certain time frame (such as 10A to 10:30A). They can record the condition but not dispatch. When you are finished you can call them to confirm they saw all the conditions.

Key Pad Alarm: Most key pads include buttons labeled for Fire, Police or just Instant. Work with your alarm center for testing these conditions. Read the documentation on this devices as it will allow you to adjust settings or configurations.

  • Phone Dialers: Mentioned above, if you have one of these, make sure the call list is up to date and the phone line is still connected. As you test your system, any alarm activation that would be recognized by the alarm control center would be seen by your call list. If you have a monitored system you will probably not have an independent phone dialer, so skip this step.
  • Door/Window Sensors: If the alarm sensor was installed after the house was built, the sensors will look like this. Assuming you have these type sensors, opening and closing the door or window should be recognized by the local touch pad. There may even be a pre-alarm (beep beep) or a code showing up on the key pad.  Every system is a little different, but if you get this kind of pre-alarm, you should be able to open all windows and doors equipped with this type sensor. Open and close each and every location that includes a sensor to ensure the panel recognizes the condition. For instance, if every window in your house is monitored, when you have an open door/window, the alarm panel should display or beep, due to the change in the condition. A number code/red lamp or beep should occur of each window and door being monitored . Regardless of the system and type of display; you should have a clear or green condition with all the door/windows closed and a red/alert condition if the door/window is open. Be aware, you may not have sensors on every door and window. If that troubles you, adding a sensor is not that difficult and can be a DIY option or performed by the monitoring company.
  • Glass Break Sensors: As pictured these can be very generic looking, and they may look as much like a smoke detector, but their locations will be more room related than smoke detectors, they will also be a little smaller. These can be tested, but a sensor tester is required. Granted the cost of the tester is about the same as calling the technician to come out. So you make the choice. Typically this condition is set up to send an immediate alarm so, you need to contact the Alarm Center prior to testing. Each sensor should identify on the key pad as well as to the Alarm Center. It is good to know what the identification codes are as it will help you understand the failure location.
  • Smoke Alarms: Depending on the installation, the smoke detector may or may not be connected to the alarm system. If they are connected to your alarm panel, they are probably connected to each other as well. Once you activate one, it should cause the others to beep. Your documentation or Alarm Center can verify this. Independent detectors will have a test button on the surface, where integrated detectors may not. If it doesnt have a test button, it requires “smoke in a can“. This provides the necessary element to activate the detector. DO NOT us anything like a candle or burnt paper to perform this test. The can of smoke is about $15 and can be used more than once.
  • Motion Detection: These can be a bit more tricky to test. Try to find the manufacturers documentation to help understand a specific test plan. Typically they will be mounted on a wall or hung from the ceiling. By nature, they work best when you pass in front of it, not walking toward it. When it was installed, that should have been a big consideration as to its location. Many of them have activation sensor on them (red light that blinks) when it picks up on movement. However, to fully test it, you should arm the alarm and walk in front of it to be activated. Like the smoke alarm this will trigger an instant alarm condition, so work with the monitoring center to test this unit. 
  • Audible Alarm: You probably have already heard this by now, however, its important to ensure that the audible alarm comes on conditionally related to the alarm. So, it should be active on any door, window, smoke, or motion detection.
  • Non-Audible Alarm: Most alarm systems have a “Silent Activation” feature. Assuming you were involved in the initial installation, you should be aware how this work. Typically its associated with your entry code, but either the Alarm technician or Monitoring Center can walk you through this step.

Hopefully after finishing this exercise you will have a better understanding of the system and feel confident in its performance.


Seasonal Reminders Fall – 2012

September 24, 2012

The Fall Season has been here for a week. We are still regularly in the high 80’s. But no complaints. It was a mild summer with only a handful of days over 100. We did get to see some rain compared to the Midwest. f you are in the northern climates this is your opportunity to “batten down the hatches” by tightening up the house. Re-caulking, sealing, and roof inspections are in order. Checking door and window seals are also in order. For the rest of us, the lower temperatures are a relief, summer is mostly over and we can attack those projects we wouldn’t touch during the summer.

  1. Heating/Cooling-Air Filters:If you live in a dusty area and/or have been using your air conditioner a lot, inspect you filter and change it if it has noticeable build up from your spring change out.
  2. Exterior Inspection:  Walk round the house, look for bird and wasp nests, as well as locations that rodents might be using to get in the house. Remove the nests and use caulk to re-seal  any breaches in structure that may be an entry point for rodents or bugs.  Dont forget to look at you electrical service entry as spring and summer growth, additional tree trimming may be required.
  3. Roofing-Looking For Leaks:  Winters are a bad time to look for roof leaks so inspect your roof for leaks, trim away any tree limbs and clean debris off the roof. Look for raised nails and any breaches in the roof surface and all the exposed vents.
  4. Sealing the Leaks: Summertime weather can cause the home exterior to dry out. Look for cracks and voids in building materials. Seal them with a good latex caulk. Larger voids should be filled (first) with a foam spray caulk, then to make it dressed for paint, use the latex caulk to finish it off and paint as necessary.
  5. Interior Inspection: Flush kitchen and bathroom sinks with scalding hot water for approximately 3-5 minutes to clear out any build up.
  6. Surface Water Drainage: Culverts, waterways and landscape drainage systems should be cleared of debris and overgrowth that has occurred.
  7. Electrical Service-Smoke Detectors: Clean your smoke detectors of cob webs and check the condition of  the battery.
  8. Chimney Flue Inspections and Cleaning: For our northern friends this is the time to ensure your stoves and fireplaces are prepared for the winter use. Inspect the stove seals, clean the chimneys and flues.
  9. Drain and cut-off sprinklers: If you are in the northern climates, its time to turn off these services to protect them through the winter. In the south, southwest and western part of the US, we can wait a few more months. For more details see Winterizing Plumbing.
  10. Smoke Detectors: As we enter the heating season, it’s a good time to clean the cob webs and change the battery.
  11. Lawn Sprinkler Adjustment: Whether you have to shut down your sprinkler or just reduce your watering schedule, now is the time.
  12. Power Outages: For some of us, this time of year can bring extended power outages, check out this post to make sure you are prepared

Attic Insulation – Do You Have Enough?

July 30, 2011

rockwool1Proper attic insulation can make a drastic impact on your utility bills. Any home over 5 years old should have the attic insulation evaluated as settling insulation and higher summer temperatures  can degrade its ability to protect your home from the summer heat.

7 reasons to be concerned about the condition of your attic insulation.

  1. High utility bills.
  2. Its been more than 5 years since the house was built.
  3. You have lived in the house for more than 10 years and never evaluated it.
  4. Some thermal insulation materials settle more than others.
  5. Increasing summer temperatures require more insulation.
  6. Recent contractor activity in the attic  (i.e. telephone, CATV, Security, HVAC). These workers can matt down the insulation while performing their job.
  7. Rodent infiltration. These buggers will easily pack down the insulation to get to various points of interest.

Acceptable attic insulation 10 years ago is not the same as it is today. In fact, in just 3 years, my region has been increased from an acceptable value of R31 to R38.

The Inspection:

  • Determine how much insulation is required. Use this Insulation Chart to determine how much is enough.
  • Enter the attic with great care. Attic entrances may be through a door or attic stair case or possibly a hatch in the closet. WARNING: You must keep your feet/body on the wood joists (beams) as stepping on the sheet rock will cause damage, and possibly cause you to fall through the ceiling.
  • With a flashlight and yard stick: Randomly check the depth of the material. Ensure the measuring device (yard stick) touches the sheet rock and measure to top edge of the insulation material. Try not to crush the insulation while performing the inspection.
  • Determine the type of insulation.  Different material have different R values.

rockwool3If you can see the ceiling joist as in this picture, you  probably do not have enough insulation.  Typical ceiling joists can range from 2 X4’s, 2X6’s to 2X10’s.  For instances, if you have 2X6 beams with loose fill rock wool, you would have a R value of 16.5 (3.0X5.5″=16.5). Newer houses typically have larger beams. Determine the material type as this will help in figuring out how much insulation to add. Use the chart below to calculate the R value of the existing insulation. TIP: If you find you have enough insulation in areas that have not been disturbed, but you find areas matted down due to activity or construction work. Use a soft plastic rake to fluff it back up.

Insulation Table

Common Types of Insulation in Residential Attics

  • batt insulationFiberglass: Comes in batts, blankets, and loose fill, either pink, white or yellow in color. Fibrous in nature and can leave you with microscopic splinters. TIP: Before working with fiberglass insulation, spread a heavy coat of baby powder over any exposed skin, this will fill your pores briefly while working with the material.
  • rockwool2Rock Wool (or Mineral Wool):Loose fill used aggressively prior to 1970. Usually brown or dark gray in color.
  • Cellulose:Loose fill made of recycled paper. Blue or gray in color. With close inspection you will find small pieces 100_0550of newspapers. The product is treated with a fire-retardant solution for safety.
  • Combination:This is not a type, but you may find a combination of two or all three types. Previous owners may have added insulation over the life of the house. This is not a problem, but you should determine how many inches of each type to calculate the value of the existing insulation.

By now, you should know, how much insulation you have vs. what you need. Assuming you need to add insulation, HomeownerBOB highly recommends hiring a professional for this task even though the home centers will provide you tools to perform the work. Once you determine what type of new insulation you prefer, you can easily bid shop the work over the phone.  The professional will need to know 1) square footage of the house, 2) type of insulation material you would like, 3) how many inches to apply.

So how do you determine what type of insulation to use? Read my article on “The Choices“.


Tile and Grout Maintenance

March 18, 2011

Most houses in my part of the county use a lot of ceramic tile products in the bathroom and kitchens. This is a very durable product and can easily last a lifetime, assuming it is applied correctly.  Though the winter months it is very normal to find drying out type cracks throughout the house. This is the perfect time to perform interior caulking and sealing.  See Caulking and Sealing for general purpose maintenance.  At first glance, it might be alarming to find grout chipping or breaking up in the bathroom or kitchen. However, this can be common, specifically at 90 degree edges. Look at where the horizontal and vertical surfaces connect, this chipped grout is due to opposing movement of these two surfaces.   This type dry out will continue to happen year to year. Even though you may find some of this with a slab foundation, most of these issues will show up with crawl space or basement type foundation. Granted tile movement with slab foundations can be common, but are usually related to foundation issues.

The house I live in has the orignal tile and grout applied some 60 years ago. For the most part it has survived without causality. Fortunately, it was not pink or some color that is totally out of favor today.  One of the most noticeable items I have recognized over the years with tile application (old and new) is that seams, edges corners or transitions become the weak link. In other words, the location that the wall tile meets the floor tile tends to have issues. This is typically associated with the fact that the sub structure (floor & walls) are moving differently. For this reason the grout at these edges usually gives way.  Additionally, during the winter we tend to see these areas gap due to low humidity.

One of the easiest ways to deal with this condition is to remove the grout and replace it with caulk. Using caulk will fill the void, and add flexibility to the joint.   As an added benefit, you may also find the surfaces creak or squeak less when walking on them.

Steps to Caulking:  Good preparation is important. If done correctly, this caulking method will create a nice finished surface requiring little to no maintenance for several years.

  1. Clean the surface to the best of your ability. There are tile cleaners at the home centers that will work better than what’s found at the grocery store. Try not to over-saturate the surfaces with liquids as you do not want to fill the cracks with fluids, then fill them with caulk as this could potentially set up a mold condition. 
  2. Let the surfaces dry overnight. If needed, you can use a hair dryer to pull the remaining moisture out of the cracks.
  3. Remove as much of the loose grout as possible. This can be done with a Dremel tool or a grout saw. Remove as much as possible, or score the grout enough so you have a void large enough to accept caulk. NOTE: This grout replacement method is all based on the fact that the corner surface is cracked and the grout is flaking out. If the grout is solid and in tack… leave it alone.
  4. Use a hand-held vacuum cleaner to suck out the loose grout.

Caulking: Make sure and read the “Caulking and Sealing” post mentioned in the first paragraph. It’s important to understand how to caulk correctly. At the end of the task, the finished caulk should have a smooth seamless appearance. The goal here is for the caulked surface to resemble the grout. 

  1. Use a good acrylic  latex caulk. If the grout is anything other than white, you may have difficulty finding a suitable caulk material. It is important for the new caulk material to match the grout as close as possible. For custom colors consider the Red Devil Color Caulk System. This will bring your project up to a professional level.
  2. Using a caulk gun, push the caulk gun away from you as you apply it  into the crack. This will cause the material to get deeper into the crack.
  3. Wipe clean any excess caulk as described in the caulking post.

Final Step: Re-seal the grout. When the tile and grout were originally installed, the surfaces should have been sealed. Sealing the surface will keep the grout clean. Plan to re-seal the grout on a yearly basis. Grout sealer is available at the Orange Box Store.

Besides the bathroom floors there are other places throughout the house that will have the condition mentioned above. Here is a short list.  

  • Kitchen counter tops (at the edge between the surface and the back splash
  • Tub and wall surfaces, this could be tiled or marbled surfaces
  • Tub and floor surfaces
  • Bathroom wall and floor surfaces
  • Bathroom wash basins and tiled surfaces.

Besides looking better, this maintenance project will reduce drafts, insect infestation and the potential for water to migrate into the floor substructure underneath the tile.

Good Luck,

BOB


Seasonal Reminder – Fall 2010

September 27, 2010

The Fall Season is technically here. For me it’s is just barely below 90 degree’s. If you are in the northern climates this is your opportunity to “batten down the hatches” by tightening up the house. Re-caulking, sealing, and roof inspections are in order. Checking door and window seals are also in order. For the rest of us, the lower temperatures are a relief, summer is mostly over and we can attack those projects we wouldn’t touch during the summer.

  1.  Heating/Cooling-Air Filters:If you live in a dusty area and/or have been using your air conditioner a lot, inspect you filter and change it if it has noticeable build up from your spring change out.  
  2. Exterior Inspection:  Walk round the house, look for bird and wasp nests, as well as locations that rodents might be using to get in the house. Remove the nests and use caulk to re-seal  any breaches in structure that may be an entry point for rodents or bugs.  Dont forget to look at you electrical service entry as spring and summer growth, additional tree trimming may be required. 
  3. Roofing-Looking For Leaks:  Winters are a bad time to look for roof leaks so inspect your roof for leaks, trim away any tree limbs and clean debris off the roof. Look for raised nails and any breaches in the roof surface and all the exposed vents.
  4. Sealing the Leaks: Summertime weather can cause the home exterior to dry out. Look for cracks and voids in building materials. Seal them with a good latex caulk. Larger voids should be filled (first) with a foam spray caulk, then to make it dressed for paint, use the latex caulk to finish it off and paint as necessary. 
  5. Interior Inspection: Flush kitchen and bathroom sinks with scalding hot water for approximately 3-5 minutes to clear out any build up.
  6. Surface Water Drainage: Culverts, waterways and landscape drainage systems should be cleared of debris and overgrowth that has occurred.
  7. Electrical Service-Smoke Detectors: Clean your smoke detectors of cob webs and check the condition of  the battery.
  8. Chimney Flue Inspections and Cleaning: For our northern friends this is the time to ensure your stoves and fireplaces are prepared for the winter use. Inspect the stove seals, clean the chimneys and flues.
  9. Drain and cut-off sprinklers: If you are in the northern climates, its time to turn off these services to protect them through the winter. In the south, southwest and western part of the US, we can wait a few more months. For more details see Winterizing Plumbing.
  10. Smoke Detectors: As we enter the heating season, its a good time to clean the cob webbs and change the battery.
  11. Power Outages: For some of us, this time of year can bring extended power outages, check out this post to make sure you are prepared

If you are needing some additional information on one of the topics that I have not written about, let me know and I will put it higher on the list of articles to write. Email to HomeownerBOB@gmail.com


Seasonal Reminder – Summer 2010

June 20, 2010

Summer is Here!!!   This seasonal reminder is more about making sure everything continues to work well through the stress and strain of the summer months more than anything. If you live near me, getting these things done before 10 AM in the morning is the best time of the day, otherwise you may wait till after 6 PM or so (stay hydrated; regardless).  If you need details on what to look for or what to do, click on the link (if there is one) and it will take you to the post that was written on the subject and provide more detail.

  1. Heating/Cooling-Air Filters: If you live in a dusty area and/or have been using your air conditioner a lot, inspect you filter and change it if it has noticeable build up from your spring change out. 
  2. 100_0233HVAC Outdoor Unit: We did this in the spring and it’s good to do it again as vegetation has been growing through the spring months. Get your garden trimmers out and trim away any vines or growth away from the  outside condenser. You should have 18″ to 2 feet of clearance around the unit. Airborne particles generated by the blooming of trees and flowers can easily show up around the air conditioning condenser. Take your water hose and wash down the outside coils. Check the condensation drain that comes from the air handler in the house. Ensure that it is clear of obstacles or debris by pouring water through it.
  3. Water Leaks: Check all water fixtures and toilets for leaks. Inspect fixture drains for water puddles or loose joints in the traps.
  4. Water Heaters: Make a visual inspection of the water heater. Look for dripping water and rust stains. Look at the exhaust flue to ensure it is still sealed. If its time to drain the tank or replace the anode, check the link for more details.
  5. Lawn Sprinklers:  Even though we performed this maintenance during the spring, yard work and vegetation growth can cause some additional sprinkler maintenance. Exercise the system (again). Look for excessive water traveling down the driveway or sidewalks. Inspect the sprinkler heads, look for blow-by, odd spray patterns, missing heads, pooling water and brown spots.  Replace or repair the heads. Chasing Lawn Sprinkler Leaks is the first of the series and covers the inspection, leak detection, repairs and tips in more detail.
  6. 100_0503Exterior Inspection:  Walk round the house, look for bird and wasp nests, as well as locations that rodents might be using to get in the house. Use caulk to re-seal  any breaches in structure that may be an entry point for rodents or bugs.  They are all looking for cool locations and possible water. If you are not opposed to using perimeter bug spray, this is a good time.
  7. Interior Inspection: Flush kitchen and bathroom sinks with scalding hot water for approximately 3-5 minutes to clear out any build up. “Water Leaks”, cover this item too.
  8. Appliances: Use a hand-held vacuum cleaner to clear the dust bunnies from around all appliances such as washers, dryers and  dish washers. Pull you refrigerator out from the wall and do the same. If it’s within your skill set, turn off the unit, pull the back cover off,  and vacuum out the condenser coils and all the dirt around the fan.
  9. 100_0206Surface Water Drainage: Gutters, culverts, waterways and landscape drainage systems should be cleared of debris and overgrowth that has occurred.
  10. Electrical Service: Inspect the Entrance, Mast and Weather-head. With tree limbs heavy with leaves, seed pods, fruits and nuts, you may have some limbs that are drooping on your electrical service lines. 
  11. Electrical Service-Smoke Detectors: Clean your smoke detectors of cob webs and change the battery.
  12. Test your security system: Work with monitoring service to validate all the door, window, glass break, and motion sensors operate properly. 

If you are needing some additional information on one of the topics that I have not written about, let me know and I will put it higher on the list of articles to write. Email to HomeownerBOB@gmail.com