O.C. Experts Share Tips for Homeowners

A homeowners survival guide
Photograph by Chris Snitko, Modern Take Media

“If you get the small fire extinguishers from the store for your kitchen and laundry room, make sure you’re replacing them about once a year. There is an expiration date on the side of the extinguisher. And always clean out your lint traps in your dryer—not just the screen, but also the part below it, and the hoses that run from your dryer outside your house. Lint can get trapped in there and spark a fire if the dryer gets really hot.”
Ryan O’Connor, City of Orange Deputy Fire Marshal

“With earthquake kits, make sure you’re putting something together yourself that fits your family’s specific needs and includes things like medicine or food for special dietary needs. Check it at least annually. I pack clothes that are a size too large, especially for my kids, because it’s easier to make something smaller than bigger. I also keep a pair of scissors in my kit. If tennis shoes are too small, for example, I can cut off the back and make them slip-ons.”
Brenda Emrick, Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue’s fire protection specialist/community education and national and state instructor for Community Emergency Response Team

“People call me to replace their faucet and shower heads a lot because they’re having problems with low water pressure and think the faucets are broken. The truth is, a lot of the time, they just have a lot of calcification on them, and you can fix them yourself. Just twist off the faucet screen or shower head and soak it in apple cider vinegar. Then use a toothbrush to clean it, and the deposits should come right off.”
Edward Waites, owner and handyman, SPCBS Building Services

“The biggest mistake I see homeowners make with their insurance is that they seldom review and update their policies and coverages to ensure maximum protection. Homeowners should review their policy every few years. And if you remodel your home with an add-on or other upgrade, that should definitely trigger a review of your policy. If your policy isn’t updated, worst case scenario, you have a house fire that burns your home down, and you don’t have enough to rebuild.”
Samantha Lee, insurance agent, Auto Club of Southern California

“When you’re buying a home, you should make sure to do a CCTV scan of the house’s main sewer line. It’s not included in most home inspections, so it’s an extra step, but it’s important because in 80 percent of houses, there’s some sort of problem down there, like tree roots growing into the line. You want to take care of that because it can cause your sewer line to back up into your house, and that can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars to repair and clean up.”
Elizabeth Davidson, office manager, JustinTime Plumbing

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