Temperatures are starting to fall and it’s time to prepare your home for winter. Home maintenance extends the life of your home and helps you avoid unnecessary insurance claims too.
Here’s a list of maintenance tips to prevent home damage and minimize your insurance premiums.
Check Roof, Gutters & Downspouts
Fall dumps plenty of debris onto your roof that can damage materials and clog gutters and downspouts. An annual roof inspection before harsh winter weather ensures your roof is in tip-top shape.
A reputable roofing contractor will usually clean the gutters and downspouts, check seals, and do minor repairs too. They’ll also alert you to any potential problems so they don’t turn into winter disasters.
Seal Windows & Doors
Time and severe weather can deteriorate caulking and weatherstripping around your home. Inspect windows and doors and replace or seal any gaps to eliminate drafts and moisture intrusion.
If your home has single-glazed windows, consider using window insulation kits, or insulating curtains or blinds. These can help keep you more comfortable and reduce your energy bills too.
Care for Your Heating System
At the very least, change the furnace filter, clean the unit, and ensure nothing obstructs heating vents. However, you may want to consider a thorough inspection for a heating professional, because they do much more.
They check furnace efficiency and the functionality of components, plus change the filter and clean the unit. If they detect any issues, they can repair them so you’re not sitting in a cold house in the middle of winter.
Duct cleaning is also a good idea, especially if you suffer from allergies, since pollen and dust accumulate during the warmer months.
Attend to Wood Burning Appliances
There’s nothing quite like a fireplace or wood stove when the temperature plummets outside. However, wood burning appliances need regular maintenance otherwise they can lead to costly, destructive fires.
Chimneys require annual cleanings to remove toxic, highly flammable creosote. It’s messy work, so you’ll probably want to hire a professional. However, they also inspect the appliances and the chimney to ensure there aren’t any problems.
Inspect the Foundation
Walk around your home and inspect the foundation. Ensure the grade of your property directs water away from your home.
If you notice any substantial cracks or water pooling in particular areas, investigate further. Specialists offer free inspections and it is best to rectify minor issues before they become serious.
You might also want to consider installing a sump pump with backup power in case of flooding. Flooding can occur anywhere and it can cause substantial damage. Plus, flooding’s not covered under a standard Rhode Island homeowner’s insurance policy unless it’s caused by a sudden event, such as a burst pipe.
You need to care for the water pipes in your home. Fortunately, winterizing pipes is very easy and affordable.
Visit your home improvement center and buy the appropriately-sized pipe insulators. Focus on the pipes closest to the exterior, because they are the most likely to freeze. Don’t forget to shut off and drain exterior taps too.
Whip the Yard into Shape
Fall is the time to prepare the yard for the spring growing season. Aerate and fertilize the lawn, and reseed where necessary. Prune trees and shrubs and split overgrown perennials.
Rake up leaves and use them as mulch or compost them. Switch summer gardening tools to winter ones and prepare them for use.
Check All Detectors
Fall is a great time to check or install smoke, carbon monoxide, and leak detectors. Most insurance companies offer discounts when you increase home safety, but more importantly they save lives and prevent expensive insurance claims. You spend much more time indoors during the winter, so it’s even more important to ensure your home’s safe.
When was the last time you did an insurance review with your agent? If it has been awhile, pick up the phone and give us a call.