Home Maintenance

Hello December! Your December To Do List!

We can't believe it's December already! Last month we focused on kitchen maintenance for holiday cooking. With the holidays and winter weather ahead of us, we decided to focus on preparing your home for holiday decorating and the chilly weather this month.

Photo Credit:  vinvisible11  Flickr via  Compfight   cc

Photo Credit: vinvisible11 Flickr via Compfight cc

1. Replace Furnace Filters

Furnace filters collect dust and debris. Dirty filters will make it difficult for the furnace to heat your home efficiently, causing it to work harder than it needs to - resulting in more energy consumption and a higher utility bill for you. This will also ensure clean air flow throughout your home, a longer lifespan for your heating system, and lower energy costs.

2. Check Attic Insulation

Some homes do not have much insulation in their attics. Check your attic if you have enough insulation. Insulation keeps your home warmer and conserves energy. Some utility companies offer rebates if you add insulation to your attic, so it would be good to consider if you do not have a lot of insulation in your attic. For more information on insulation, insulation types, and rebates, you can check ENERGY STAR's blog on DIY ADDING ATTIC INSULATION.

If you're interested in other ways to save money on energy bills, you can read our blog from October, GOOD ENERGY SAVING INVESTMENTS.

3. Test Holiday Lights and Decorations

Take out all your holiday decorations and lights from storage. Before putting up lights and decorations, make sure that they are working properly. This will save you a lot of time in the long run. Discard lights that do not work.

4. Check all GFCIs 

Since outlets will be in use more now compared to previous months (if you plan of putting up decorations), you should test all GFCIs (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) in your home. This is a simple task. Push the "test" button and the "reset" button should pop out. If this does not happen, then something may be wrong with your outlet. Call a licensed electrician to check your outlet.

5. Test Timers and Motion Sensors

Lots of traveling is done during the holiday season, make sure your timers and motion sensors are working properly so your Christmas lights and porch lights turn on at night. This will make it appear like you are home and will protect your home from people looking for empty homes to break into.

6. Add Weather Stripping and Door Sweeps Where Necessary

If there are any drafts by your doors or windows, then cold air is definitely seeping into your home, causing the warm air in your home to leave. You can prevent this by weather stripping your windows and placing door sweeps. The heat in your home will stay and this will be a big energy save so your heater won't work as hard to keep your home warm. Our blog post from earlier this fall, FALL REMODELING PROJECTS, discusses weather stripping and sealing if you need more information on this topic and other ways on how to get rid of drafts.

Completing this to do list will ensure you are ready to take on the holidays (your home at least)!

For some safety tips on keeping your home safe and warm this season, check out our previous blog 8 HEATING SAFETY TIPS.

Contact Kaplan Construction for your general contractor needs at (562) 495-0483 or via email at BOB@KAPLANCONSTRUCTION.COM.

Hello, November! Your November To-Do List!

We can't believe it is November already! Hello, November! Here is your November To-Do List!  

Photo: One of Kaplan Construction's remodeling projects in Long Beach, CA. For more photos of this remodel, click  HERE .

Photo: One of Kaplan Construction's remodeling projects in Long Beach, CA. For more photos of this remodel, click HERE.

The November To Do List

This month we would like to focus on your kitchen. With the holidays coming up, plenty of time will be spent in the kitchen in the weeks to come.

Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Safety first. Make sure that your detectors are working properly and have a fresh set of batteries. If you do not have a carbon monoxide detector, you should install at least one in your home. If you have any appliances that burn fuel (such as gas for your stove or water heater), you need a carbon monoxide detector in your home. 

Remember, a smoke detector does not serve as both a smoke and carbon monoxide detector and vice versa. You will need both detectors. With the holiday season coming up, the kitchen will be used more than usual, and the probability of a fire or a gas leak is greater. It is best to know that both your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly. 

Clean the Oven, Other Kitchen Appliances, and Cabinets

Cleaning your oven will make sure your oven is working efficiently. Dirty ovens can cause your oven to reach desired temperatures longer - causing a higher energy usage. The same goes with your other kitchen appliances, energy usage may go up if they are not cleaned or maintained.

Grease stains build up over time on your oven, stove, other kitchen appliances, and even your cabinets. You can use a degreaser to remove any grease stains. The longer you leave grease stains in your kitchen, the more difficult it will be to remove them. Note that different materials may need different degreasers. Some degreasers can be too harsh when degreasing cabinets, so be sure to check the type of degreaser you are using.

Clean Your Kitchen Exhaust Hood and Fan

Cleaning your exhaust hood will ensure that your exhaust is working at its optimal efficiency. Grease stains build up on the hood as well, so it may be a good idea to degrease your hood exterior and interior. Clean or replace the filters from your hood. This will ensure that your hood is working effectively.

You exhaust fans collect dust, grease, and debris that build up over time, this build up may cause your exhaust to work harder than it needs to, causing a higher energy usage as well as potentially damaging your fan motor in the long run. Cleaning your hood and fan will ensure good air flow throughout your ventilation system while you are cooking.

Clean and Organize Your Kitchen Drawers

We tend to build up clutter in our kitchen drawers or store items in the wrong drawer over time, making it difficult to find a spatula when we need one. Cleaning and organizing your kitchen drawers can save you time when working in the kitchen. Since all your kitchen tools and accessories are organized you will know where everything you need is. This will save you tons of time during the holiday season.

Completing this to-do list will ensure your kitchen is ready to take on this holiday season!

Contact Kaplan Construction for your general contractor needs at (562) 495-0483 or via email at BOB@KAPLANCONSTRUCTION.COM.

Hello, October! Your October To-Do List!

Hello, October! Here is your October To-Do List! To go along with the topic of last week's post, FALL REMODELING PROJECTS, this month we are going to focus on the roof, gutters, windows, and doors! 

Photo: One of Kaplan Construction's projects: a custom glass elevator and home remodel in Laguna Beach, California. For more photos of this remodel, click  HERE .

Photo: One of Kaplan Construction's projects: a custom glass elevator and home remodel in Laguna Beach, California. For more photos of this remodel, click HERE.


The following topics are important to protecting your home from the elements as well as prolonging its lifespan.

1. Check for and repair broken or missing shingles

Your roof protects your home from the outside elements. Missing shingles, broken shingles, and shingle debris in your rain gutters are signs that your roof will need some repairs done. Ignoring these signs may cause your roof to leak, adding more items to be repaired in your home and increasing your expenses.

2. Clean gutters and downspouts

Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear. Debris tends to collect there. This will make sure that water will drain from your roof properly. Clogged downspouts can cause water to backup into your gutters, causing an overflow. Water will have nowhere to drain to and can potentially cause water damage to your roof, such as leaks, and eventually damage the interior and exterior of your home. Dirty gutters and downspouts are also pest friendly. It will attract insects, rodents, and even bees/hornets/wasps to create a home there, so it is very important that you make sure your gutters and downspouts are free of debris.

3. Make sure water drains away from your home

Along with cleaning gutters and downspouts, make sure that the water collected from these drain away from your home. Stagnant water around your home will cause the soil to soften around your home, and potentially damage your home’s foundation, so it is important to make sure that water drains away from your home.

4. Seal around windows and doors

Drafts are air leaks into your home caused by windows or doors not being completely sealed. Windows are sometimes poorly sealed, allowing cold air to come inside your home. Search your windows for any cracks, this is where the cold air will come from. You can easily seal these cracks with a window sealant. If you notice drafts coming in from your door, it is a good sign that you may need door repairs to keep outside air from coming into your home. To fix this problem, you can either update the weather stripping or add a door sweep.
Drafts entering your home from the outside will decrease the energy efficiency of your home, whether its summer or winter, resulting in increased energy bills, so it is important to seal around doors and windows.

5. Clean windows

Windows bring in the natural light to your home. Cleaning your windows will make sure you are getting the most amount of light into your home. This can save money on your electricity bill by providing natural light so you don't have to use the light in your home. When it gets cold, windows bring in the heat from the sun so you don't have to use your heater during the day. Another thing to note, cleaning your windows regularly will help prolong their lifespan.

For a printable To-Do List, click HERE.

Contact Kaplan Construction at (562) 495-0483 or via email at BOB@KAPLANCONSTRUCTION.COM for your general contractor needs for your home remodel/renovation!

Hello, September! Your September To-Do List!

Here are some things from Freshome to do for your home this month!

Photo: One of Kaplan Construction's home remodeling projects in Belmont Heights. For more photos of this home remodel, click  here .

Photo: One of Kaplan Construction's home remodeling projects in Belmont Heights. For more photos of this home remodel, click here.

  • Check your roof, gutters, and downspouts for debris
  • Check walkways for cracks and loose paver material - fix them
  • Change filters in your home
  • Repair leaky faucets and toilets
  • Prep your fireplace
  • Drain your hot water heater
  • Check windows and doors for drafts

For more information on these tips, check out Freshome's blog here.

For a printable To-Do list, click here!

Contact Kaplan Construction today at (562)495-0483 or via email at BOB@KAPLANCONSTRUCTION.COM for any home remodels and renovations.