Routine pest control of rodents and insects is an important part of your home maintenance. Left unchecked, pests such as rats, ants, bees, and roaches pose health risks to your family and can cause substantial damage to your home.
There are steps you can take to help keep your home healthy and free of pests. If you need help sealing openings or have a pest problem, your local pest control service can assist.
- Keep outdoor garbage cans sealed with a tight-fitting lid.
- Pet food bowls should be brought indoors overnight.
- Compost is an attractive food source for pests. Consider a closed compost bin system.
- Seal any cracks and holes on your home’s exterior, top to bottom. Look for gaps around attic vents, soffits, foundation, crawl space covers and vents, doors, windows, and where plumbing and utility lines enter the home. Secure screens over attic and crawl space vents.
- Cut back vegetation to prevent contact with your home’s structure.
- Keep firewood stacked off the ground and away from the house.
- Pests are often attracted to water sources. Repair any plumbing leaks around appliances, fixtures, and piping in the crawl space.
- Store food in sealed containers. Keep kitchen countertops and sink clean and free of food waste.
- Seal openings around windows, doors, in the attic and crawl space, and where utilities enter the home – the same places you identified around the outside.
Trees require ongoing care to keep them strong and healthy. A diseased or damaged tree can be a danger to you and your property. Trees and other vegetation growing near your home also provide easy roof access for rodents and raccoons. Larger tree work is best left to the professionals.
- Take special care to have any dead or diseased branches removed from trees that may fall and cause injury, damage property, or take down power lines.
- Trim back limbs or vegetation extending over the roof and gutters. This helps to prevent potential damage from a falling limb and limits rodent access.
Fireplace & Chimney Care
Nothing is more inviting on a chilly evening than relaxing in front of a cozy fire. Whether you have a traditional wood burning, gas, or electric fireplace, there is a certain amount of maintenance required to keep them functioning properly and safely.
For more information visit American Lifestyle’s Fireplace Maintenance Tips, by Nathan Smith.
Wood Burning Fireplace
- Have the chimney inspected and cleaned annually, especially if you use a wood stove or fireplace regularly. On average, the chimney should be cleaned after every two cords of seasoned, dry wood is burned.
- Clean the firebox weekly during the burning season. Take caution that the coals have cooled (at least 12 hours) before disposing. Use a metal ash can for added safety.
- Always have a glass or metal screen in front of the firebox to block sparks and embers.
- Your gas fireplace should be cleaned and serviced annually. This will include an inspection for gas leaks and proper ventilation.
- Carefully vacuum the inside of the fireplace monthly to prevent dust build up. Clean doors with fireplace glass cleaner.
- Check the gas connection regularly to ensure it is secure.
- Periodically check the external vent to ensure there are no obstructions.
- Electric fireplaces require the least amount of maintenance. Other than periodically checking the electrical cord for fraying or damage, you can enjoy this type of low maintenance fireplace worry free.
- Dust the vents and full appliance as needed.
Dryer Duct Cleaning
- Clogged dryer ducts can be a fire hazard. Clean the dryer duct annually and clean the lint trap after each load of laundry.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms
According to South County Fire, most deadly house fires occur during the night when you are sleeping. Smoke alarms provide early warning and save lives.
- Test smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries annually, or sooner if needed.
- Install a smoke alarm in each bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every floor of your home.
- Replace smoke and CO alarms when 10 years old, or as recommended by the manufacturer.
Modern, open floor plans and newer furnishings made of synthetic materials often contribute to how quickly fires spread.
- Sleep with bedroom doors CLOSED to help slow the spread of fire and reduce heat and smoke exposure.
- Minutes matter! Prepare and practice a home fire escape plan at least twice a year with everyone in the household. If possible, identify at least two ways out of each room.
- Check for damaged electrical cords and avoid overloading electrical outlets or extension cords. Do not place cords and wires under rugs or across high traffic areas.
Visit South County Fire for helpful resources and more lifesaving tips.
Prepare an emergency kit for you and your family in the event of a power outage or other emergency. This kit will be helpful even during temporary power outages.
- Your kit should include at least a three-day supply of food, water, medications, pet supplies, flashlight, battery-powered radio, spare batteries, and a first aid kit.
- Emergency kits can also be purchased at the Red Cross Store.
If you need assistance with any projects or upgrades, we can connect you with the appropriate service professionals for your specific needs. Just let us know how we can help by completing our online Work Request.