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Oklahoma State University

Fall home maintenance must-dos

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Smoke alarms should be replaced 10 years from their manufacture date. Fall Daylight Saving Time is a good reminder to complete routine, but important home maintenance tasks such as checking your smoke alarms.

Maybe age is just a number when it comes to living your best life, but it definitely matters when you are talking about the smoke alarms protecting your home and family.

Smoke alarms should be replaced 10 years from their manufacture date.

“Look on the back of each smoke alarm in your house to locate the date of manufacture. Replace any smoke alarms that are out of date,” said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension housing and consumer specialist. “Smoke alarms less than 10 years old can remain in service, though you might want to make note of when those will need to be replaced.”

While you should test the smoke alarms in your home every month, the upcoming fall Daylight Saving Time on Nov. 4 provides the perfect reminder to check those dates of manufacture.

Use the annual task of turning the clock back as a reminder to also complete other routine, but important home maintenance activities.

Changing the batteries in all the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors should be near the top of your fall Daylight Saving Time to-do list.

“Actually, it’s a good idea to change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors both in the fall and again in the spring,” Peek said. “Either recycle the used batteries or repurpose them for use in toys and other electronics.”

Another crucial fall home maintenance activity involves checking light bulbs and light fixtures, paying close attention to the areas at the tops and bottoms of staircases.

“It’s easier to move around in a well-lighted house and it cuts the risk of you or a family member tripping or falling. This is especially important for older adults to consider,” Peek said. “If you do need to replace any bulbs, you can save a little money by using more energy-efficient bulbs. Check for more information on your options.”

You also should make sure your heating and cooling system is serviced by a licensed professional either in the fall or spring. The same goes for fireplaces or any other fuel-burning appliances in the home.  

Finally, use fall Daylight Saving Time as a reminder to update the family’s emergency preparedness kit and emergency contact list.

“As long as you’re properly maintaining your kit, you probably won’t have to throw away any food. But, you should rotate other contents such as clothing appropriate for cooler weather,” Peek said. “Go over the family’s emergency plan, including adding any new family members or pets. Also, be sure to update any names and phone numbers of people and businesses on your emergency contact list.”


Story by Leilana McKindra

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