It’s that time of year again, when you can open your windows and let out the stale air even for a little while before the sun goes down and brings back the chill. That’s just long enough for me to be inspired to start new projects around the house and prepare to get the yard summer ready. Unfortunately this is also the time of year I can look around my home and see last years unfinished inspirations. I fancy myself a ‘do-it-yourselfer’, until I get halfway through a project and wished I had hired a professional.
Whether you’re a home and garden TV wannabe like me or prefer to project manage a team of experts, this is the right time of year to get your home ready for the spring and summer months ahead. Sure the ice and snow may almost be behind us, but the winter thaw opens the door to a whole new set of risks in and around your home if you are not prepared.
Let’s get started outside first, since you never really know what Mother Nature has planned…
- Roofing and ventilation check-up – The harsh winter weather could have done some damage to your shingles and vents over the season, and spring rainstorms or the heat of the summer sun could exacerbate even mild wear and tear quickly. Catching it early could save you from the high cost of additional damage due to leakage, or having to fully redo your roof before it’s really needed.This task is best left to the professionals, arrange to have your roof inspected and repair any damaged spots early before they become a bigger concern. It’s also important to know that your insurance coverage could be compromised if you suffer a loss and your roof has exceeded is life span. Keeping your home in good repair is vital and spending the time and money to keep it up-to-date will definitely bring you savings in the long run.
- Eaves troughs and downspouts – Over the season, leaves and other debris collect making it difficult to properly route water away from your home. Keeping them clean is a simple way to reduce your risk of a flood.This may also be another job to outsource unless you are properly equipped to safely scale a ladder and do the task yourself. If you happen to live in a single story home you can pick up an extendable attachment for your hose at your local hardware store. This should help to keep your feet firmly on the ground while getting the job done, however this does not allow you to ensure that eaves troughs are still properly attached or see if they have sustained any damage.
- Driveways and sidewalks – Big fluctuations in temperature can cause cracks and shifting in the pavement, and over time salt used to melt icy patches can work to erode cement even further. All of this could lead to big safety concerns, and like your roof, making small repairs early on could put the larger expense of full replacement on hold for longer.Doing a visual inspection yourself is easy and small cracks can be repaired with a few simple supplies from your hardware store.
- Decks and fences – Check your deck and fence for loose boards and popped nails or screws and replace as needed.If the weather permits, power washing can help you better assess the health of the wood and whether or not a new coat of stain or protectant is in order. Be sure to check the weather before getting this project underway, some paints and stains need a full 48 to cure to properly protect.
‘Spring’ into action inside your home too.
Although the change in season doesn’t mean much for the inside of your home, there are some good habits to start adopting each spring.
- A/C, furnace and water heater – If you have an air conditioning unit, have it inspected and tuned up by a HVAC specialist, this can help you reduce your energy bills over a hot summer.While you are at it, it’s not a bad idea to have your ductwork cleaned and furnace and water heaters inspected. A season of heavy use, especially in older models may have caused some erosion or leaks. Get them taken care of now and to limit the chance of bigger problems and potential damage later on.Some of the professionals who clean ducts will also offer the additional service of clearing out dryer exhaust vents, so be sure to ask. This can be especially helpful if your dryer is on a second level and the vent is hard to get at. Lint and debris build up is a potential fire hazard.
- Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers – Did you know that most smoke detectors only have a lifespan of ten years? An emergency is not the time to figure out yours doesn’t work. Test them every spring and replace the batteries.This can also be a great time to discuss a fire safety plan with your family. You’ll find some handy resources at the end of this post.Also, be sure to have small mutli-purpose fire extinguishers on-hand, it’s a good idea to keep one on each level of your home and in other specialized places like studios, workshops and garages. You won’t have the time search for a fire extinguisher should the need arise.
- And lastly, check your electrical outlets for potential fire hazards, such as frayed wires or loose-fitting plugs. Make sure outlets, fuse boxes and extension cords are not overloaded. Electrical work is no DYI project; if it looks like something needs attention, call an electrician to do the job.
This year, I am leaving it to the professionals. Apart from a handful of things I know I can manage with ease, I think my time is better served brushing up on some new barbecue recipes and patio beverages… Like the ground hogs I am optimistic that the good weather is here to stay and I intend to be prepared!
Sources and Resources – A Little Extra Info
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Everyday Insurance With Allie
Working mom, lover of the great outdoors and self-professed know-it-all. Our resident blogger, Allie isn’t the insurance guru she claims to be – but she’s learning and we are happy to help guide her. All the while keeping you in the loop on the “insurancey” stuff you need to know. #AskAllie