Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc



Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 7/22/2012

It is almost summertime and the living is easy. But there is some preventative work you will want to do around the house before those lazy days of summer move in. A few quick and easy tasks will have you enjoying your home all summer and for many years to come.  

  • Clean and care for deck
  • Wash all outdoor furniture
  • Clean and repair siding and look for loose pieces
  • Maintain yard growth by trimming the hedges, weeding and mulching
  • Test and lubricate garage door
  • Remove rust on railings and repaint if necessary
  • Check skylights for leaks
  • Change filters in furnace and air conditioners
  • Test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
What are some of your favorite things to do to get your home ready for summer?





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 4/22/2012

We think of the spring and fall as home clean up time but taking advantage of the warmer weather and time off from work makes summer the perfect time to do a home maintenance checkup. Get Ready for Cooler Weather Do an Energy Audit Take a walk around your home and take an inventory of gaps and cracks. Plugging leaks can save you 20% on heating and cooling bills. Look for gaps under switch plates. If you find gaps install foam inserts. Make sure to turn off the electricity at the circuit box before doing this. Don’t forget to check where windows meet walls, walls meet floors and pipes and wires enter the home. Plug all gaps with caulk. Other places to find leaks are fireplace dampers, mail slots, air conditioners, attic doors, baseboards and the weather stripping surrounding doors. Look for daylight, feel for drafts and listen for rattles; all clues to escaping heat. Now look outside the house. Look for gaps or damage where pipes, vents or wiring enter. Also check siding for gaps or damage, pay attention to corners where the material joins and where it meets other materials, like chimneys, windows or the foundation. Save Money on Heat and Hot Water Save on heating costs next winter by insulating the hot-water pipes in the basement or crawl space. Insulating pipes is easy; all you need to do is snap foam jackets (called sleeves) around the pipes. Make sure you know the pipe’s diameter to get the correct fit. Get the Outside in Tip-Top Shape Pretty the Patio There is nothing more uninviting than dirty patio furniture. Mix up a bucketful of soapy bleach solution to keep your patio furniture squeaky clean. Mix 2/3 cup trisodium phosphate (TSP), 1/3 cup laundry soap powder, a quart of bleach and three quarts of warm water. Use a rag and soft-bristle brush to remove embedded dirt on synthetic coverings, metal and wood furniture. Rinse thoroughly and let dry. Don’t destroy the deck Don’t let your pretty deck flowers rot your wood deck. Make drainage room in your potted plants by setting pots on pot “feet”. For a frugal solution; just prop bricks under the pots. Look out for tree trouble Trees that hang over your roof, rub against gutters or dropping loads of leaves and sticks onto the roof should be pruned. Overhanging branches can provide a ladder for rats and squirrels, and diseased or damaged trees may fall on your home in a storm. Fix the fence Look for damage along the fence line. Mow the grass next to the fence low so you can get good visibility. Keep your fence in tip-top shape by make prompt repairs. Check fence posts for signs of rot (poke soft spots in the wood for crumbling or decay). Remove and replace the damaged areas. Keep fences painted or stained to protect the wood. If dogs or other animals are tunneling under the fence attach a 2-foot-wide apron of wire mesh around the inside perimeter of the fence.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 2/12/2012

Smoke detectors save lives. Many people may be lulled into a false sense of security thinking they have smoke detectors in their home. Smoke detectors that are not installed or maintained properly are not safe. Here are a few tips on what you need to know about buying, installing, and maintaining your smoke detectors: What should I buy? The National Burn Institute recommends only buying smoke alarms tested by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). You will also want to make sure the smoke detector has a battery backup. Smoke detectors that don't work in a power outage are no good. Consider buying a combination smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector, they may be more expensive, but well worth the money. There are two main types of smoke alarms, which are categorized by the type of smoke detection sensor used in the alarm. They are ionization and photoelectric. Ionization smoke detectors Ionization detectors respond quickly to flaming fires with smaller combustion particles. They contain a chamber with two plates that generate a small, continuous electric current. When smoke enters the ionization chamber, the smoke particles disrupt the current flow, which triggers the alarm. Photoelectric smoke detectors Photoelectric detectors respond more quickly to smoldering fires. They use a light beam and light receptor. When smoke is present between the light and receptor, the photocell sensor triggers the alarm. Combination smoke detectors The best smoke alarms can sense both types of fires (flaming and smoldering). For the highest degree of safety and preparedness, there are combination smoke alarms also that combine ionization and photoelectric detectors into one unit, called dual sensor smoke alarms. Check with your local fire department to see what kind of detector they recommend. Installation and Maintenance Smoke detectors should be installed on each floor, outside of every bedroom and sleeping area and near any air vents. Detectors should also be installed high on walls or on ceilings because smoke rises. Avoid installing detectors near windows, doors or where there are openings where smoke can escape. Check with your local fire department for specific regulations on the placement of detectors. Smoke detectors have a lifespan of about seven to 10 years, and it's important to replace old detectors according to the model's recommendations. Test your alarm’s batteries monthly and remember to replace all batteries at least once a year. Clean and vacuum the grill of your detector to get rid of dust and debris. Other maintenance includes a monthly testing of the alarm and cleaning with a vacuum hose about once every month.