Will SoCal Summer Heat Break More Than Records?

Palm Tree with Blue SkyLast summer Southern California saw record breaking temperatures for prolonged periods. This year will likely see similar stretches of extreme temperatures. Recently, many of our clients have asked us how they can prevent heat damage to their homes. While there are many insulation and cooling options that can protect your home from heat, there’s one part of the home that often gets overlooked and that is the windows.

Extreme weather can not only heat up your home or business but it can also shatter your windows. Broken windows in the summer can often be attributed to thermal stress.  A few years ago, we helped a client whose newly installed windows—nine of them—had mysteriously cracked without any apparent impact. After investigation, we concluded thermal stress was indeed the culprit.… Continue Reading Will SoCal Summer Heat Break More Than Records?

How El Niño Rain Will Affect Your Property in 2024

Raindrops on RosesOver the past several weeks, Southern California has been blessed with a much-needed infusion of rain, offering a respite from the persistent drought conditions that have plagued the region. This rainfall is not only a welcome sight for parched landscapes but also vital for replenishing our water sources and supporting the delicate balance of our ecosystem. However, while the rain brings relief on one hand, it can also bring challenges, particularly for property owners and public areas ill-prepared to handle significant precipitation.

… Continue Reading How El Niño Rain Will Affect Your Property in 2024

Santa’s List of Decorating Safety Tips

Sant Claus in Front of Christmas TreeNo matter which holiday you’re celebrating this fall or winter season, Helfrich Associates reminds you to make it a safe celebration. As you bring out the lights, the yard decorations, the ladders, the extension cords, the controllers, the timers, the batteries, the real candles, fresh greenery and wood logs for that roaring fireplace, be sure to think “safety” first.

This year the Winter Solstice is Thursday, December 21, the shortest day of the year.  That leaves little more than four weeks between Thanksgiving, the solstice and Christmas followed by New Year’s Day 2024.  If these dates aren’t already keeping you awake at night or even on your calendar, then you might be tempted to overcompensate once holiday decorating hits full tilt hysteria on November 24 (the day after Thanksgiving 2023), but please go slow and be safe.… Continue Reading Santa’s List of Decorating Safety Tips

Art That Soars To New Heights

Monarch Butterfly on a purple flower

One of the hottest trends over the past decades has been the installation of large natural world inspired art pieces in public facilities, commercial buildings, shopping centers and in homes large and small.  From sculpture to mosaics to murals to fountains to light shows to aquariums to mobiles and more, these pieces are beautiful to behold and impart their own sense of energy and happiness that draw us to them.

At Helfrich & Associates, as structural engineers, we know the installation and maintenance of these large art gems requires some careful behind the scenes work.  Many of these bigger than life art pieces, as opposed to hanging a medium size picture on a wall, will require some expert, professional planning to ensure what goes up stays up, looks as the artist intended and will be maintainable and sustainable over time in their indoor, outdoor or sheltered spaces. … Continue Reading Art That Soars To New Heights

Some Hot Topics Worthy of Fall Conversations

Orange Pumpkins

Now that the kids are back in school and have hit the books again (or laptops), have you noticed the fall harvest merchandize post cards and catalogs popping up daily in your mail?  They’re full of all things pumpkin and orange from front door decor to pillows to lighting to spice lattes to costumes and more.  You’ll surely see the fall leaves in the mail before they drop off your trees.

Our favorite retailers want us to think ahead about fall, but we suggest you also take it one step further. Now is the time to consider scheduling the winter maintenance of your hardworking furnaces and fireplace chimneys before the cold of November and December. As summer ends next month, your friendly HVAC technician will likely have some extra time to stop by this fall.… Continue Reading Some Hot Topics Worthy of Fall Conversations

Are You in Hot Water . . . Or, Just All Wet and Freezing?

White bathtub in bathroom with potted tree

There’s nothing like the comfort or soothing of warm hot water.  Don’t take it for granted, however, because behind every tub, shower or heated pool there is hardworking hot water heater that needs your attention.  Hot water heaters, especially in the hard water Southwest, need an annual flush to keep them in top shape and carefree for a year.

Like clockwork, Phil faithfully calls once a year with a reminder that it is July and time to flush the hot water heater that keeps the tubs, spas and showers flowing in our homeowners association community.  Well, truthfully, it is time for Phil to come by and flush our tankless water heater. I’ve done it myself many times and it is easy to do, but life gets busy for everybody and the help is now welcome.… Continue Reading Are You in Hot Water . . . Or, Just All Wet and Freezing?

Are You Worried About Having a Roof Over Your Head?

Suburban Home With Green Grass

Year after year the roofs on our homes keep us dry and warm in the winter and cooler in the summer.  Most of the time our home roofs perform so well and are designed to last so long these days that we often take them for granted until inevitably the day comes when there is a problem.

Typically, the first signs of roof trouble are visible inside the home, such as a dark spot on the ceiling indicating a small leak.  That’s an early warning sign, which we are often tempted to ignore.  The rainy season is over or I should get up to the attic next weekend or I’m okay now.… Continue Reading Are You Worried About Having a Roof Over Your Head?

Dream Outdoor Living Spaces


Spring is typically short in Southern California. The first 80-degree day has come and gone and the first 90-degree day is already predicted next week.  That means it is officially outdoor living weather–so get the grill going and check out the sales on pool toys, trunks or suits and towels.

Spring is also when the home selling and buying season starts in earnest with the end of the school year in sight.  For some buyers, the outside amenities are as important as the indoor priorities: kitchen, dining and living areas; bedrooms to bathrooms ratio; storage closets, etc.

What’s does your dream outdoor living space vision look like: view lot, pool, patio, barbecue, dining area, bar with big screen TV, lawn, flower or vegetable or herb garden, lily or fish pond, kids playhouse and swing set, dog run?  How about a changing room or a pool cabana house?… Continue Reading Dream Outdoor Living Spaces

Spring Bouquet: A Variety of Annual Must-Dos


While the calendar tells us that Spring officially arrived on March 21, a quick look outside last week tells us that the season will be late this year.  If you live in California or most of the Southwest, the gloomy weather brought us another rainy atmospheric river and snow in the mountains without a hint of the sunny Spring days to come that we’re all anxiously anticipating.… Continue Reading Spring Bouquet: A Variety of Annual Must-Dos

Homeowner’s Insurance Check-Up Time

Fancy Home on Hill

As homeowners, one of our most important maintenance tasks is taking an annual look at our homeowner’s insurance policy.   Many times they are bundled into a homeowner’s monthly mortgage impound account along with property taxes and other fees; then paid automatically and are barely noticed.

Your monthly mortgage company takes care of it all, which is easy and painless. As a result, however, policies can be overlooked or misunderstood because they are set up during the very busy time surrounding a new home’s purchase escrow process and then overlooked as time goes by . . .  literally forgotten.… Continue Reading Homeowner’s Insurance Check-Up Time