Taking care of your house all year long isn't just about indulging in your house-proud proclivities — as fulfilling as they may be! Keeping on top of regular maintenance may also help you prevent loss from damage and even keep you from having to file an insurance claim.
Each season brings its own special challenges, and while you can't protect your home from all weather-related loss, you can reduce the likelihood of it by taking charge with these maintenance tasks. Some are easy to do yourself during a free weekend, and others are best left to the professionals.
Not convinced? Consider the cost of having professional preventative maintenance as an investment in your property, and weigh it against the potential cost of damage. See? It's totally worth it.
During this transitional season, you're both cleaning up after summer and getting ready for winter. Fall brings mainly outside tasks, but there are a few things inside that are important to handle, too:
- Stay ahead of leaf removal, both on the ground and in the gutters on your home. Clearing leaves from the ground helps in a number of ways. Keeping your property free of debris deters pests that want to make your home their home. And hey, pest-removal can get costly. Clearing the leaves also helps your lawn to grow and prevents damage to landscaping. Debris removal can even prevent water damage. When you have debris piling against your home's foundation, this may interfere with drainage, resulting in costly damage like basement flooding.
- Clearing leaves from the gutters is a must in the fall. If it's unable to flow freely from the gutters and downspouts, water can freeze, damaging the foundation and roof. This task requires climbing on ladders and possibly getting on your roof.
- Considering the risk involved and your level of comfort with the job, this could be something to contract out to a landscaper.
- In cold climates, turn off water supplies and store hoses for the winter. If you have a pool or sprinkler system, close these systems for the winter or enlist a professional service to perform this task.
- Prep your home by getting your heating and cooling system checked and ready for chilly nights. If you use your fireplace to stay warm, have the chimney cleaned to prevent fires from soot. Check for drafts and caulk them up as needed.
- Check your driveway and walkway concrete for cracks and have them repaired. Once things start repeatedly freezing and thawing in winter, these cracks can worsen and become dangerous tripping hazards.
- Check smoke detectors in the fall and spring.
Winter maintenance in colder areas largely involves removing snow and ice. It's also all about protecting your home from the cold and its effects.
- Keep the outside of your home safe by clearing ice and snow quickly after storms. Depending on how brutal winter is, you'll need at minimum snow shovels and deicer to sprinkle on walkways and driveways. In climates where you may receive more snow, consider a snow blower. Snow shoveling is strenuous and can be dangerous. Take your time and always be aware of how you're shoveling to protect your back. Choose deicers that protect your concrete and blacktop.
- Keep an eye on the temps. When the temperatures are below 30 degrees Fahrenheit for extended periods of time, your pipes can freeze. Use pipe heaters and wraps especially for pipes on outside walls. When temps dip, you can also turn the faucets on to pencil-width streams to help prevent freezing.
- One indoor task? Reversing your ceiling fans. Hot air rises, and reversing your fans helps them push warm air back down to your sitting areas. This can help you save on utility bills.
Cleaning up the yard and outside of your home is a spring ritual. This is also the time to check your smoke detectors again — and your fire extinguishers.
- Removing weeds and debris helps you create a clean area where you can add new plants and make sure your lawn can drain properly during spring thunderstorms.
- Check trees and shrubbery for dead spots and branches. Remove them to protect the remaining foliage.
- Those gutters need checking again. Clear them out to make sure drainage is fully functioning.
- Open your sprinkler system and turn on outdoor faucets.
- Do a visual inspection of your roof (from the ground, please!). If you notice any missing tiles or see water spots on the inside of your home on the ceilings, call your roofer.
- Spring cleaning inside includes the normal jobs like pressure washing the deck and outdoor surfaces and cleaning your windows. But also add to your list cleaning AC filters and vacuuming the vents after the long winter.
Summer months are great for outdoor tasks. You might also think about indoor painting — you can open windows to clear the fumes.
- If you have a pool, schedule maintenance or begin your opening maintenance by cleaning and shocking the water.
- Scrape and touch up any peeling paint. If the house needs to be repainted, try to schedule this task early in the summer or in months that are drier in your area.
- Schedule a pest inspection, unless you have quarterly service set up.
- If you didn't do repairs during fall, patch your driveway and sidewalks. Check all areas on steps and pavement that could cause someone to trip.
Much of your maintenance is dependent on climate, so you can mix and match these jobs if the weather's fine. Think about preventive maintenance in terms of preparing for what's to come, and adjust as needed. A little prep now can prevent losses later.
If you do experience damage due to seasonal weather events or other types of loss, you'll be glad you had the right homeowner's policy in place well beforehand. Learn more about our coverage to find out how we can help.