Jon Eakes

Weekly Maintenance for your Home

November – Week 45

Just like preventative maintenance on your car, if you take care of a few small items around the house every week, you can avoid many emergency breakdowns and expensive repairs.

Check out the BELLS, BUZZERS AND ALARMS throughout your house.

It is quite frustrating trying to get someone's attention who has a broken door bell. It is usually a question of replacing the button itself. The thin wires — referred to as "bell wires" — that are connected to the outdoor button can be quite brittle. So take care not to break them when you're replacing the button If the transformer is worn out (very rare) or a wire has been broken somewhere between the door and the bell, things get more complicated. Click here for details on fixing "Door Bells".

When nothing else works you can replace the system with a wireless door bell, but then you do have to replace the batteries regularly.

ALARMS BUZZERS can be for detecting smoke, temperature, Carbon Monoxide or even flooding. These should be tested regularly to be sure they are working. The test buttons on most alarms only test the electronic circuit and the buzzer, not the sensing mechanisms. For smoke detectors you should do the additional test of sending cigarette smoke or incense into the alarm until it goes off. You should also vacuum out all alarms occasionally to remove dust, even spiders. For temperature and Carbon Monoxide detectors we cannot test the sensing mechanism, but be aware that all these alarms except the flood detectors generally have about a 5 year life span. That's right, most of them are only good for 5 years and I am sure you have many that are far older than that around your house, which may not work when you need them. More and more you will find manufacturer dates on or in the alarms. I always recommend that when you install a new one, you put a sticker on the alarm that tells you the date that you should change it, like the "best before" dates on food at the grocery store. Check the SEARCH tab above for more information on "Alarms".