When was the last time you tested your smoke alarm(s)? Right, me too. And it’s not because we’re lazy (well, ok, it is) but it’s just so darn easy to forget those little life savers… until it’s too late. Hardwired detectors are great for us forgetful types, but if you're retrofitting, it can be a fairly invasive task, not to mention pricey. Another option, thanks to DuPont, is a Self-Charging Smoke Alarm that screws into your everyday ceiling-mounted light socket. The beauty in this is that the alarm automatically recharges itself every time you use the light, thus eliminating those pesky 9 volts and AA’s. Cost $34, go buy one now.
I envy my apartment dwelling friends—not so much for their nomadic lifestyle, loft beds, or creative use of milk crates, but for their Seinfeld-esque intercoms. For those of us with a mortgage, the Doorbell Fon Answering System aims to fill that void by giving us an intercom that conveniently ties into our home’s existing phone lines. Once installed, a push of the intercom’s buzzer will ring your phones—a distinctive ring at that. You can opt to chat with your visitor by phone to exterior intercom or let them in with an optional lock controller. The product is said to play nice with call waiting and other such phone services and sells for $140-ish + options. Available now.
Live in the Southeast and thinking about getting storm coverings for your windows? If so, I urge you to start exploring your options now. Sure it’s only February and hurricane season “officially” starts in June. But in April of last year Florida homeowners were warned that the wait to get some types of storm shutters was 8-12 weeks. By July the wait became 18-20 weeks, and some were told they’d have to wait until 2006. Backups were even worse in other states because most of the inventory went to Florida.
The main reason for the backlog? Surge in demand after back-to-back killer hurricane seasons. Backups in getting building permits (don’t forget those!) were another source of installation delays.
So, if you’re serious about storm coverings, don’t delay another moment. Your shutter options include temporary aluminum panels, accordion shutters, swing panels, and electric roll up shutters. You can even choose to replace your existing windows with impact-resistant windows that do not require additional shuttering for storms. New products becoming more available include fabric screen and polycarbonate products. Remember, you may be better served using a combination of some of these products.
Whatever your preference, we at FLASH urge you to use products that have been tested to one of these standards and have been designated as such by a recognized product approval: Miami-Dade Protocols PA 201, PA 202, PA 203, SBCCI SSTD 12; ASTM E 1886 and ASTM E 1996.
To learn about various types of storm coverings and get an estimate of what they may cost for your home, visit our FLASH Interactive Shutter Tool available on the Blueprint for Safety Web site.