Tag Archives: fire detector

Wenatchee Fire Chief Applies For Smoke Detector Grants

This week I attended a North Central Home Builders Association dinner in Wenatchee, Washington.  One of the speakers was Mark Yaple, the Assistant Fire Chief for the City of Wenatchee.  He talked about the number one problem that causes a total loss in a house fire– a faulty or absent smoke detector.  Since 1995 building code has required homes to have hardwired smoke detector alarms with battery backup.  Yaple is concerned about the homes built before 1995.  He has taken it upon himself to provide smoke detectors to any home in the city of Wenatchee that needs one.

State Farm Insurance gave him a $5,000 grant to purchase battery operated smoke detectors.  With the help of a Red Cross volunteer and driving his fire truck he went door to door inspecting smoke detectors and installing  new ones where needed.  He advertised his free service to the public and received many calls from elderly people that were not able to deal with the problem themselves.  His goal is to receive more money and continue his good work.  He has applied for more grants from State Farm and the Federal Government and hopes to receive up to $27,000  to purchase detectors.  Obviously, new construction homes are not entitled to his program because they would not meet the code adopted in 1995.  If you would like to volunteer with Yaple to install smoke detectors contact him at the City of Wenatchee.  He could use our help!

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Winterization Tips for Your Home

Follow these steps to get your home ready for the cold weather.  For more detailed information about insulating your attic or dealing with air leaks around the home feel free to contact me at info at amsinspection dot com.

  

1. Clean gutters.
Clear debris from your home’s gutters before the winter sets in.  Clogged drains can bend gutters, promote ice dams and cause water buildup- all resulting in possible moisture infiltration through your roof and/or walls.  Make sure the downspouts are carrying water away from the home’s foundation.  Clogged downspouts won’t help you either.  After a big wind storm sometimes downspouts will fall off the drain pipes, so make sure they are firmly attached.

  

2.  Winterize underground irrigation systems.

You may want to call a professional service to winterize your underground irrigation system.  Turn your system off, then bleed the line (release pressure) and drain the water.  Confirm that the settings are adjusted or that the system is completely turned off before the first freeze.

  

3. Clean the furnace and baseboards vents.
Due to seasonal dust buildup, you’ll probably notice a weird smell when you turn them on for the first time.   Using “duster” computer keyboard cleaner works great for cleaning the vents on your furnace and baseboards but you can also use a dust broom or vacuum attachment.  Throughout the winter you should change the furnace filters regularly. A dirty filter reduces air flow and efficiency and is a potential fire hazard.

  

4. Chimney sweep.

Inspect your chimney for creosote (baked soot) buildup which is highly flammable.  Inspect the chimney for any obstructions: limbs, leaves, baseballs, etc.  Wood stoves should be swept routinely throughout the winter.  Make sure the spark arrester is properly screened to avoid debris buildup. 

  

5. Wrap pipes.
Dealing with a busted pipe is never a good thing especially in the winter.  Wrap exposed pipes in crawl spaces, basements or garages with pre-molded foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation. Heating tape is an added measure that is commonly used in our area.

  

6.  Store water hoses.

Turn off the water to your hose bibs.  You should find a valve turnoff inside your home.  Drain the lines and hoses.  Then store the hoses away from the elements.

 

7. Check alarms.
Fire departments have tried to educate us that when you change your clocks for Daylight Savings, it’s also a prefect time to change your smoke detector batteries.  Detectors should be replaced every 10 years. Additionally, testing them with a small bit of smoke is always a good idea. Check your carbon monoxide detector or buy one if you don’t already have one.  Refer to the installation manual regarding correct placement for the detector.