Insurance Soup Blog
Here at the Soup HQ in New York, we're happily starting to see, smell and feel the first real push of spring. This means it's time for the dreaded winter cleanup that so many of us in the northeast have come to know. One thing that's important to remember is that we're not JUST tidying up our properties, we're also taking serious steps to keep our properties safe in order to avoid any accidental homeowner's insurance claims.
While some homeowners policies might provide coverage for less serious claims, carefully prepping your home for the warmer weather helps you protect the health and safety of your family and anyone who visits, which protects you financially. It's a real win-win.
1. Check Kitchen and Bathroom Caulk
To mitigate water damage, keep an eye on the caulk around your home. Over time, the caulk in your bathroom and kitchen can deteriorate, producing cracks. These cracks can lead to leaks, and water contamination can spread within minutes.
Water damage causes your claim costs to skyrocket, but when you stay aware of the condition of your caulk you can prevent or minimize destructive effects. Regularly recaulk your bathtubs, showers, and sinks to maintain your house’s plumbing system.
2. Clean out the Dryer Lint Hose
Lint can easily clog the hose on your dryer, even if you meticulously clean it from the lint trap. This buildup can make your dryer less effective, and it raises the risk of a household fire. Dryer lint is extremely flammable, and a single spark can ignite this material.
Each year, homeowners report 2,900 clothes-dryer-related fires, which cause an estimated five deaths and 100 injuries. Reduce this danger by inspecting the hose and wiping out residual lint.
3. Change Detector Batteries
Detectors are vital warning systems that ensure the safety of you and your family, so be sure to inspect them year round. Approximately twice a year, exchange old batteries for new ones. It takes only a few minutes to replenish both smoke and carbon monoxide alarms during your spring cleaning.
4. Remove Drain Build-Up
When your sewer backs up, your drains can overflow and you may have to replace interior or exterior elements. However, one or two internal issues can indicate simple drain build-up. An accumulation of toothpaste, hair and debris can effectively clog your drains. Open them up again by dislodging deposits of grime. Plunging, snaking, and hot water can restore your drains as well.
5. Replace Air Filters
Through the winter, your heating system has been actively circulating warmth for your house. Before you rely on it to produce cool air all summer, look over its air filters and swap dirty ones out. To prolong the life of your HVAC system, periodically install fresh filters.
6. Inspect Weather Stripping on Windows and Doors
Frigid temperatures can wear on the weather stripping of window and door frames. Exposure to the elements can cause it to loosen its hold and weaken the seal. Assess your weather stripping for signs of decline, and switch out the old stripping with resilient new material.
7. Clear out Gutters
Clogged gutters and downspouts can impair the exterior of your house. Water spots and foundational damages are a few of the potential issues that come from untended gutters. This spring, empty your gutters and dispose of the collection of leaves and gunk.
8. Look Over the Roof and Siding
Harsh weather can compromise your roof and siding. While you’re cleaning your gutters, appraise the outside of your house for damages. If you spot areas of sagging or any missing shingles, contact a roof repair service.
9. Repair the Driveway and Sidewalks
An uneven walking area can be a tripping hazard on your property. Investigate for developing cracks and holes in your sidewalk, and patch up these spots to bypass accidents. Revamping your driveway is also better for your vehicle.
10. Investigate the Porch and Deck
As you’re tidying up outside your house, look over your porch and deck for rotting wood and loose material. Loose nails and unfastened railings can turn hazardous, so fix any vulnerable areas to bolster your home’s safety.
There are many things we can do to make our homes cleaner, safer, and less vulnerable to costly insurance claims. Following these spring cleaning tips to properly waterproof, fireproof, and weatherproof your home can help prevent unwanted injuries, accidents, or claims.