Doorbell, Spring, Wood Floors

“Check on your residents and ask for any feedback on anything that might need repair.”

Dear Maintenance Men:

I have a hard of hearing resident. She uses a Ring Doorbell with camera but it doesn’t always alert her when someone is at the door. I thought of a doorbell with a flashing light. I know these types of doorbells exist but I can’t find one that directly replaces my doorbell with a bell and flashing light. There are several available that run on a battery and require another doorbell button to be added. With these I worry the battery will die and I will be constantly changing it. Do you know of a flashing light/doorbell which would directly replace my existing doorbell? Thanks for your help.


Dear John:

There are currently several different options on the market for you to choose from both hardwired and battery operated. Quality battery operated devices use a 10-year, sealed lithium battery which helps to avoid constant change-outs. The installation of an Audio/Visual Door Alert for the Hearing Impaired comes in handy for knowing when to answer the door. Just as important, the installation of Audio/Visual CO and Smoke Alarms are critical for knowing when a Hearing Impaired person should exit the door in an emergency.

For hardwired devices: Edwards-Signaling Corp. makes a Hotel Room Annunciator Kit that easily replaces your existing doorbell and chime system for single-button function and operates using your existing 24v transformer. (However, we recommend the use of the transformer included in the kit.) The chime is replaced with the combination signaling horn and strobe light.

Harris Communications also manufactures a very inexpensive Doorbell Strobe Signaler that readily connects to any 24v transformer and you simply replace it for your chime.

For battery-operated or wireless doorbells and Audio/Visual “chimes”, Nutone and scores of other companies manufacture battery-operated doorbell buttons to replace your existing one and come with one or multiple Audio/Visuals alarms which plug into any 120v outlet. They are sold in kits and can be purchased for one room or the entire dwelling.

When dealing with a battery-operated system, choose quality over price.

For fire, life and safety devices, Kidde, First-Alert and Gentex manufacture great combination Smoke and CO Detectors. They are ADA compliant Hearing Impaired devices and can be purchased as either battery-operated or hardwired. The best part is they are available at any big box hardware store.

Note: The big take away from this particular question is anytime you are presented with maintenance issues that may lead to ADA requirements or “Reasonable Accommodations,” consider your approach and performance very carefully, which includes consulting with professionals. ADA requirements are very specific in regards to the installation and locations of devices and equipment.

Dear Maintenance Men:

Now that winter is over, do you have a spring time list of maintenance tips?


Dear Bill:

What a great question! Yes we do have a few tips.

  1. We like to start at the top and check the roof for any winter time damage. Check the flashing, roof transitions and fascia boards. Don’t forget to check any downspouts and drain covers.
  2. Check all the windows and make sure they are well sealed. Clean out the weep holes in any aluminum window frames and caulking on wooden windows. This is a good time to put a drop of grease on the moving parts of the crank out windows. Check screens for holes and replace any missing screens.
  3. Check the proper operation of all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Keep note of the original install date and the date each alarm was checked thereafter for your records.
  4. Check the building’s siding, brick and stucco walls for cracks, peeling paint and rot.
  5. Clean out air conditioning filters and vents. Remove any lint, dust and dirt from around A/C coils.
  6. Check sidewalks, stairs, decks, balconies and ramps for cracks, lifting and possible water intrusion.
  7. Turn on and check all lawn sprinkler valves and look for broken heads, pipes and errant concrete watering.
  8. Inspect water heaters and boilers for proper operation.
  9. Check and adjust any exterior lights and timers.
  10. Check on your residents and ask for any feedback on anything that might need repair. They live at the building day in and day out. Their input can be quite valuable in terms of preventive maintenance and resident relations.

Dear Maintenance Men:

We have wood floors in our units and want to know how best to refinish them. We have several vacancies coming up and the floors look well lived in.


Dear Mark:

Wood floors take the most abuse of any wood product. The floors need to be protected from scratches, spills, foot traffic and any grit and dirt on the surface. Polyurethane finishes provide a hard, durable finish that wood floors require. Polyurethane is easy to apply, however, it is best to use a natural bristle brush rather than a foam pad. The foam pad will leave air bubbles in the finish. Sand properly to remove any loose finish; this will allow the new finish to adhere properly. When applying the polyurethane finish, allow the first coat to dry overnight, and then sand it lightly with a 220-grit sandpaper. Always apply a second coat and we recommend a third coat to ensure the best protection and look for your wood floors.




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If you need maintenance work or consultation for your building or project, please feel free to contact us. We are available throughout Southern California. For an appointment please call Buffalo Maintenance, Inc., at 714-956-8371. Frank Alvarez is a licensed contractor and the Operations Director and co-owner of Buffalo Maintenance, Inc. He has been involved with apartment maintenance and construction for over 20 years. He is also a lecturer and educational instructor for the Apartment Association. Frank can also be reached at For more info please go to: Jerry L’Ecuyer is a real estate broker and has been involved with apartments as a professional since 1988.