Many of us think of spring as the season for home maintenance. But, what many homeowners don’t realize is, the fall can be a far more important season to make necessary repairs when it comes to maintaining their home’s structural integrity and health. Homeowner claims are far more common in the fall and winter months because of the greater number of risks they bring. Water damage from fall rains, wind storms, ice build-up, heavy snowfalls and unexpected power outages all contribute to a long list of reasons for making a fall maintenance plan so important. By being proactive and taking care of minor concerns before they become major problems, homeowners can reduce risks and enjoy peace of mind all season long.
At Nicol Insurance we want to help you avoid any unnecessary stress, so we’ve put together a short list of some basic fall maintenance tips to assist you in preparing for the season ahead:
Clean and inspect your eavestroughs
Cleaning your gutters and downspouts of leaves and debris will keep water from building up and spilling out where it can cause damage. Once the weather gets cold, built-up water can freeze, expand and potentially damage the eaves, roof and exterior of your home. It’s also helpful to check for any wear and tear, and to make sure your eaves are secured tightly to your home’s exterior. You don’t want them to get pulled off once they fill with snow or ice.
Make sure water is diverted away from your house
Check and make sure that the flow of water from the eavestroughing downspouts is not accumulating somewhere that could cause damage to your foundation and seep indoors; you’ll want to be sure the water is not puddling close to you home.
It’s also a good time to check that outdoor water taps are turned off from inside your home and the tap is drained to prevent freezing and bursting of the pipes.
Check your roof and chimney for damage
Whether you choose to hire a professional or not, it’s important to visually inspect your roof and chimney for damage and stability before accessing them becomes much more difficult. A leaking roof is always a concern, but winter weather can make it even more difficult to see a small problem before it becomes a BIG problem when temperatures warm up. Save yourself from inconvenient and expensive repairs by identifying and repairing risks early. Loose or missing shingles, small holes, lose vents and debris are all causes for concern.
Check your window and door weather stripping
Wind-driven rain and snow can easily get into your home through the cracks or gaps in door and window weather stripping. Ineffective weather stripping can also cause your energy cost to rise, so it’s wise to make certain the weather stripping is in good repair before the winter weather hits.
Have your furnace serviced
There are few things worse than being without heat in the dead of winter, so book your furnace inspection with your service provider as early as possible, as they will get very busy later in the season. It’s also a good time to replace your furnace filter and possibly have your air-ducts cleaned for better air quality.
Check your sump pump
Just like your furnace, your sump pump is one of the most important appliances in your home. Before the fall rains begin, make sure your pump is working properly or have a qualified technician service it to stay ahead of any potential troubles.
Check all of your smoke detectors, CO detectors and fire extinguishers.
Replacing the batteries in your detectors regularly can save lives and property damage. Make sure you have a detector on every level of your home and replace the batteries twice a year to ensure you’re protected. Newer detectors have a ten year battery life, but it’s always a good idea to check that it is operating properly at least twice a year. While you’re at it, make sure you have a few multi-purpose fire extinguishers around the house, and that they are full and ready for any emergency.
Have an escape plan in case of an emergency.
Should there be a fire or any other type of emergency, it is wise to have a home escape plan. Review the plan with every member of your household and designate a place outside the home where everyone will meet. We suggest you practice this escape plan at least twice a year. These are just a few items that should be on your fall checklist, Of course, every home has its own unique characteristics and features that need special attention, but we hope this list gets you thinking about protecting your home and property from seasonal perils. While proper home maintenance may not guarantee that a loss will not occur, taking a proactive approach can certainly reduce your risks. Don’t forget, Nicol Insurance is here to help keep you protected. You can always talk to your broker to be sure your policy covers the risks you’re likely to face. We’re here to help make sure your insurance fits your lifestyle!