February 11, 2013

Around the House: It’s Time to Get Organized

It’s that time of the year again, folks. The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to make a few simple precautions to ensure your house is organized and safe. Learn how make your home safe, by checking on these household items:

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Everyone at some point in their life has been awakened in the middle of the night to the chirping of a smoke or carbon monoxide detector. You open all of the kitchen drawers and run up and down the stairs half asleep while trying to locate what is producing the awful sound. Suddenly, you look up and realize what’s behind the unwelcomed disturbance.

Because the chirping of a smoke and carbon monoxide detector at 3 a.m. isn’t enjoyable, changing out the batteries and performing a test run is the best way to ensure your home is protected and your detectors are working properly.  These warnings are important to heed to ensure you and your family are safe.  Applewood will check and change batteries for free during regular service calls.


With the beginning of the year falling into heating season, checking your furnace is essential to keeping warm. Many people fail to check filters, pilot lights, ventilation, operating systems and other basic maintenance until their furnace is in full action.  The best way to ensure your furnace is working efficiently is to check your furnace’s air filter at least once every other month. Boilers also require regular maintenance and system checks to ensure they are running efficiently. You can easily change filters yourself, but a full furnace or boiler check should be done yearly by a qualified technician.

Hot water heater

For some a hot shower helps revive, wake up and ready you for the day.  When we are greeted with a cold blast it can take you by surprise. Often, we blame a cold shower on a family member who likes to take 20-minute showers. However, before pointing a finger, make sure your hot water heater is working properly. Cold water can be caused by a low setting, a pilot light that’s out or a failing unit.  A common warning sign that your pilot light is out is cold water coming from the hot water tap. If this happens, check your pilot light located at the bottom of your hot water heater. When checking your pilot light you are looking for a continuous, small blue flame. If the flame is out or appears irregular it may indicate a problem with your hot water heater. Applewood has licensed technicians available to assess your hot water heater and provide options for safety and efficiency.


Testing and proper maintenance of electric breakers and overall wiring can improve efficiency and reliability of your electrical system. By testing your breakers and making sure your wiring is up to code you may be able to reduce costs and improve the overall life expectancy of these systems in your home. Regular tripping of breakers, flickering lights and shorts in outlets can be warning signals of electrical issues in your home. It may mean overloaded circuits – outlets with too many plugs – or something more. Be sure to limit the number of items plugged into the wall to ensure safe distribution of your electrical current. Irregularities could be cause for concern and assessment by an electrician should be considered.

Although organizing a home is not everyone’s favorite chore, doing some simple maintenance annually can make a big difference. Make it a New Year’s resolution to get your home is proper working order. By taking these easy steps you can reduce repair costs, limit middle of the night disturbances and improve equipment life expectancy. No time like the present! Now  you know how to make your home safe.

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