Protecting Your Home Through Your Garage!

We all probably think of garage door maintenance as having a professional come out and make sure that everything is working properly.  From the garage door opening sensors to the drums and other springs and things.  What most of us may not have ever stopped to think about though is how to take preventative measures to ensure you and your families safety from break ins that are often attributed with access through your garage.  What exactly am I talking about?  Every year thieves are able to gain access into homes via the garage door.  Especially in the months leading up to the holidays when many people have Christmas trees with gifts around them. For thieves this is the gold mine time and they will go to all levels to gain access to homes and leave with stolen belongings.

So how does your garage door actually take part in thieves entering your home when the door is down and you have the opener in your car?   After reading a very interesting article on, It was found that when garage door openers are left in your car in plain view, many thieves who happen to be scavenging around your neighborhood will break into your car and get the garage door opener.  They then proceed to open the garage door and gain access into your home through the door that most time leads into your kitchen.  Many people do not lock the door leading into their homes from their garage with the thought that if the door is down you’re safe from outside harm.  Thus it is recommended that if you keep your garage door opener inside you car, like most of us do, that you hide the remote from plain view.  It is further recommended that you invest in a keychain remote that will thus stay with your keys and you at all times.

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Importance Of Dryer Vent & Lint Trap Maintenance

As we talk about home maintenance and improvements it is very important to point out the simple tasks that can help keep you and your family safe and in a no fire hazard home.  One of the smallest maintenance tasks but perhaps one of the most important is cleaning your dryer vent! Yes that’s right cleaning your dryer vent on a regular basis will not only protect you and your family from one of the biggest fire hazards in your home, but also help you save on your energy bill.  Dirty lint clogged dryer vents cause the motor in our dryers to work harder because of the way it blocks air circulation.  The motor is then unable to cool efficiently and thus causes the motor to run harder and longer.  It’s basically like the engine of a overheating car.  Either eventually the engine will get so hot and can burst into flames or your car just stops working.

The longer your dryer’s motor functions like this the slower it will get.  This causes it to take more time and energy to dry your clothes thoroughly.  In turn your electricity bill spikes and it’s a lose lose situation.

Not only are these some of the consequences of a dirty lint filled dryer vent, but the fire hazard this build up produces is one of the greatest fire hazards you have in your home.  Nobody thinks that their dryer could be the cause of a house fire but more often than not it occurs.  In fact in 1996 alone there were 15,000 house fires caused by clogged dryer vents and lint traps reported.  Within these 15,000  electric dryer’s were 2.5 times more likely to be the cause of the fire over gas dryers.  With these 15,000 fires there were 20 deaths reported, 300 injuries and over $80 million in property damage.  

So what are the signs that your dryer is a fire hazard and is in some serious need of vent and lint trap cleaning?

  1. Clothes take longer than usual to dry
  2. Your clothes don’t fully dry even after 2 drying cycles
  3. Clothes come out hotter than usual
  4. The outside exterior of the dryer becomes hot
  5. Your laundry room/area become more humid than usual
  6. Biggest sign of all you smell a burning smell in your laundry room/area or even vicinity

In general it is always best to air on the side of caution especially if it means keeping your family safe.  Make it a habit to conduct monthly dryer vent and lint trap checks.  You might just save yourself from a house fire!

The Importance Of Chimney Maintenance

Having a fireplace in your home is one of the greatest luxuries especially in the cold winter months.  There is simply nothing like having a warm fire burning, the smell of wood crackling and the peaceful ambiance a burning fire provides.  I mean there is something definitely to be said about drinking hot chocolate around a fire and enjoying loved ones and friends during the holiday’s!  However, chimney’s also come with upkeep by that of a professional chimney sweep! Ok, I’ll spare you the rhymes but chimney maintenance is a necessity and should be taken very seriously.  In fact the NFPA ( National Fire Protection Association) advises that you have your chimney PROFESSIONALLY cleaned and inspected at least once a year.

So what exactly are the top three dangers associated with unmaintained chimney’s?

First off chimney fires are a very real thing and happen more often than most of us realize.  While the flames spouting from your chimney may look beautiful they are anything but when paired with the destruction and potential fatal effects that can occur.  When burning wood, a natural substance called creosote is produced.  This natural tar like substance sticks to the inside walls and material of your chimney.  When left uncleaned it can ignite when a new fire is started.  The scary thing about this is that often times you have no idea you even have a chimney fire.  The flames can burn low with in your chimney and go unnoticed.  However the high temperatures that occur can often seep into your homes walls and ignite any flammable material that may be inside of you walls, like insulation etc.  From there the fire will spread even quicker and can completely burn your house down and create a potential fatal scenario for those inside the home.

Next we have carbon monoxide poisoning.  We all have heard about this poisoning but never believe it could happen to us.  Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the deadliest poisonings and because it is odorless can go left undetected.  When fuel is burned carbon monoxide is produced.  Even at low levels carbon monoxide ingestion can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, confusion and fainting.  Blocked chimneys can cause of build up of this gas and with nowhere to go will eventually seep back into your house harming those inside the home.  That is why it is so important to make sure your chimney’s flue is clear before burning any fire.

Smoke damage is also a very real thing and can often happen from having a dirty chimney.  When a chimney is not regularly cleaned soot will accumulate around the flue.  This makes it harder for smoke to go upwards and be released through the chimney vent on your roof.  Where does the smoke go then?  Back into your house ofcourse. The materials that make up this moke are sticking and permanently stain to furniture, fixtures, floors and the outside walls of your chimney.  Nobody enjoys smoke damage or breathing in the sticky black matter as well.

These are just a few of the reasons that regular chimney maintenance is suggested.  Enjoying a fire can be great but never at the cost of you or your loved ones health or lives.  Be smart when maintaining your chimney.  Remember that the cost is far worth it because if left un maintained the cost of starting over from all of your personal belongings, memories and home being burned to the ground would be 100x more expensive.  The safety of your friends and family definitely never will have a price!!