In a perfect world everything in life would come with an instruction manual – including your house! However in our imperfect world, we sometimes have to rely on information from others to help us navigate certain situations. This is especially true when it comes to owning your first home. So where do you start?
Listed below are some basic home maintenance tips to help you get better acquainted with your residence. Our hope is that with these tips, you will be better equipped to to recognize when you can take care of home repairs and maintenance yourself, and when it is best to call in a professional.
- Place smoke detectors in strategic places around your home. Some areas that should be covered by a smoke detector include bedroom entryways, the kitchen area (away from the stove), and the living room. Generally, the best place to put a detector is 12” from the ceiling on the wall.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide (CO), known as a “silent killer”, is an odorless, colorless gas. You may know it best as the fume that comes out of the exhaust pipe from your car, but it can also come from other sources. Inhaling it could cause extreme sickness and death. There should be at least 1 CO detector on each floor of your home. They should be tested, at minimum, once a month and be replaced per manufacturer’s instructions.
- Have fire extinguishers readily available, especially in your kitchen. Learn how to use, maintain, and inspect each fire extinguisher monthly. An easy way to remember how to use a fire extinguisher is to remember the acronym PASS:
- P – Pull the pin in the handle
- A – Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire
- S – Squeeze the lever slowly
- S – Sweep from side to side
- Have a plan of action ready when disaster strikes. Whether it’s escaping a fire or staying safe from a storm, your family should have a basic idea of what to do when a disaster occurs. Create escape routes and have emergency supplies and contact lists ready and in a safe area. Know what shelters are in your area, and become familiar with evacuation routes you can take if you need to leave your home.
Items That Should Be Inspected Regularly
- Your roof – The roof of your home should be inspected twice a year. Worn flashings, missing shingles and loose seams can cause bigger issues in your house if not taken care of in a timely manner.
- The chimney – If you have a chimney, it should be inspected once a year and cleaned regularly regardless of how often it is used.
- Your electrical system – The best times to check your electrical system are if you’ve recently purchased your home, when you install new appliances, after completing a renovation, or if your home was built more than 40 years ago. Look out for damaged/discolored/warm cords, and switches or outlets that make buzzing noises. Also make sure all kitchen appliance cords are away from hot surfaces.
- Pests – Once a year have a state-licensed pest control company inspect your home for termites or other wood-hungry critters.
- Air Conditioner – Your heating, air conditioning, and ventilation (HVAC) system should be inspected twice a year. Spring and Fall are the best times to schedule these inspections with a qualified HVAC contractor.
- Gutters – Clean your gutters at least two times a year. This will keep them functioning and prevent water damage to your home.
- Sewer line – Depending on what kind of sewer system you have in your home, a licensed plumber should inspect and clean it once a year.
- Landscaping – To prevent damage to your home or injury to a friend, family member, or visitor, be sure your hedges are trimmed and remove bushes or trees with exposed roots.
Above all else, the easiest and best way to protect your home is to have a complete home owners insurance policy. A complete insurance package will protect your biggest investment from things such as theft, flood, or hurricane damage.
Contact us today to learn more about our services and to find the best homeowners insurance policy for you.