Help avoid costly repairs and keep your property safe
By: Meagan Baron
October 29, 2019
How do you make a house a home? Family and self-expression are at the top of many lists, including Mosaic Insurance Alliance’s. But what completes our top three? Comfort. And, what brings comfort? Stability and safety.
Keeping up home maintenance increases the safety of your home, while also helping you become more stable by avoiding costly repairs and the financial stress that follows. Home insurance and renters insurancegives you an extra padding of stability—you get comfort in knowing that you are financially protected if the unexpected happens. Wonderful! But, what about your health? In addition to providing you with a free property insurance quote, Mosaic wants to go that extra mile and highlight some crucial house safety tips.
Falls, choking, drowning, poisoning, natural disasters, and fires are just some of the common household accidents that injure and kill people every day. According to Stanford Children’s Health, about 2,000 children 14 years and under die yearly because of a home injury. In addition, home security company, ASecureLife, notes that American home injuries result in more than 18,000 deaths and 21 million medical visits each year, which adds up to approximately $220 billion in medical costs.
How can you keep your family and yourself safe? A big step in the right direction is to keep your house clean and consistently maintain your home and property. Appliances need attention throughout the year, and it is good to know what to keep an eye out for in each season. In addition to having a detailed cleaning checklist for each room, like the one you can find here, a great place to start is knowing the common house maintenance areas:
- On-Hand Supplies
- Fire Safety
- Injury Hazards
- Vacation Prep
- Seasonal Weather Prep
The house maintenance guide below is perfect for your fridge next to your grocery list. You can also add it to your computer and phone calendar before the start and end of each season. Know someone else whose house could use a little TLC? Hand it out to friends and family to spread awareness by sharing the URL, or by clicking the Facebook share button at the top of this page. Read below for more details on the topics mentioned in the infographic.
You can download the PDF of the image here.
We get it—plumbing is not sexy. But, having it working is a whole lot prettier than the alternative.
Make sure to ask yourself if all the items on this list are working, maintained, and ready for any possible weather ahead:
- Septic tank
- Hose bibbs
- Storm drains
- Hot water tank
- Gas lines
- Window wells
- Garbage disposal
- Water softener
- Air filters
Also, it is important to ask yourself these questions:
- Do your pipes need lagging?
- Are there any leaky pipes?
- Are all pipes and faucets regularly used so there is no grime buildup?
The last thing you want is to reach for an emergency item and realize that you don’t have it. Situations even get worse when you go to the store and the item you are looking for is sold out because others got there first. So, ask yourself—do you have necessary backup items on-hand before you need them?
Some examples of helpful items include:
- Snow shovel and salt
- Batteries for items like fire alarms
- Fire extinguishers that are full and not expired
- Charged battery banks (i.e. charge cellphones when the power is out)
- Fans and air conditioners
- Candles and lighters/matches
- Food backup (i.e. snowed in or power outage)
3. Fire Safety:
Lots of things can go wrong when you add fire into the mix.
Some common factors that lead to house fires (and/or make them worse) include:
- Using items with damaged wires.
- Not raking leaves. (Leaves are very flammable and can help fires spread.)
- Having clutter inside and/or outside your house. (Clutter can cause a fire as well as help it spread and make it harder to evacuate.)
- Leaving heat sources unattended (i.e. stovetop cooking, candles, portable heaters, etc.)
Furthermore, it is important to make sure that appliances are working and kept clean. Damaged appliances, or ones that are gummed up, can cause fires.
Are appliances like these routinely cleaned and properly functioning?
- Oil furnace
- Range hood filter on kitchen stove
- Dryer vent
- Refrigerator coils
- Ceiling fans
And, don’t forget your alarms! Alarms help signal to you that something is wrong so that you can help avoid more damage. Make sure that all your fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are working 24/7, and that you have at least one fire extinguisher if you need it.
Lula Smarter Home Services recommends replacing batteries at least twice a year for all alarms. Lula also says: “Don’t rely on the automatic beeping to tell you when to change the batteries. After replacement, be sure to hold the test button down for 15-20 seconds after changing, so you can hear whether or not the battery is faulty.”
4. Injury Hazards:
Taking precautions to avoid common hazards is easier than you might think. Take the common household injuries, for example...
To avoid falling, eliminate tripping hazards:
- Inside and outside clutter
- Yard holes (especially if you have dogs!)
- Driveway and sidewalk cracks
- Icy driveways and sidewalks
- Untreated decks
- Lose stair railings and floorboards
- Tree roots
To avoid burns, eliminate careless hazards:
- Hot items left unattended (i.e. candles, frying pans, portable heaters, etc.).
- Items within the reach of small children (i.e. lighters, stove dials, curling irons, etc.).
- Young children cooking alone.
- Oven mitts with holes.
- Putting cold water on very hot glass dishes (they can shatter!).
- Cooking at too high of a temperature (splattering grease, burning food, etc.).
- Not setting a timer and burning food.
- Leaving cooking appliances plugged in when not in use (i.e. crock pot, portable grill, etc.).
5. Vacation Prep
When you are on vacation, you want to have complete fun and relaxation…Not to worry about your home constantly while you are away. Plus, the last thing you want when you get home tired and ready for bed is a mess waiting for you.
Some action steps to take before you leave on a trip, include:
- Turn off water supply
- Turn off gas line
- Clean refrigerator
- Adjust thermostat
- Unplug electronics
- Lock all doors and windows (home, garage, shed, cars, etc.)
- Engage alarm
- Don’t leave a hide-a-key
- Leave a key with a trusted family member or friend for emergencies
- Put a hold on mail (especially online orders)
- Review your home and auto insurance policies
Rodents, bugs, insects, raccoons, and other pests are relentless when it comes to getting food and building nests. They will make themselves right at home. You cannot keep them out all the time, so the best thing to do is make sure that you are doing routine checks around your home and avoiding the obvious things that attract them.
- Seal wood as needed (porch, basement windows, etc.) to block termites.
- Have a regular garbage service so that rats and raccoons are not coming to your house for a snack.
- Do regular cleaning of all rooms so that you get rid of smells that attract rodents and so that you can catch any problem in the beginning stages before it gets out of hand.
- Maintain healthy room moisture and temperature so that you avoid animals like maggots, flies, spiders, and mice. Plus, you can avoid mold, which loves places like bathrooms, attics, basements, and garages.
- Screens on your windows and doors will help keep out the creepy crawlers.
- Adequate window and door seals will help block out pests as well as keep out unwanted moisture and rain.
- Routine checks for bee nests in parked cars, garages, attics, porches, etc. can keep you safe and make it so you have a smaller nest to deal with.
Also, be careful with the types of things that you use to rid yourself of unwanted vermin. Poisons can be dangerous to you, your pets, and children. For advice, contact an exterminator.
7. Seasonal Weather Prep:
What would this list be without seasonal life hacks for your home? It is important to be prepared for different weather conditions common in your area for each season (i.e. rain, snow, lightening, wind, hail, mud, ice, high humidity, heat, etc.). Below are just a handful of things to look out for each quarter.
- Check for proper insulation in all areas of your home.
- Clean gutters and downspouts.
- Rake leaves.
- Trim trees before windy season.
- Add weather-stripping to doorways and window frames.
- Check furnace filter, air registers, and sump pump.
- Flusher water heater.
- Extend gutter drainpipes at least 3 feet from your foundation (divert rain and melted snow).
- Do some electrical maintenance before winter (service panel, breaker wires, power flow on sockets and appliances, ground fault circuit interrupter, etc.).
- Disconnect hoses from outdoor faucets and drain excess water.
- Maintenance heaters.
- Do an inventory check to see if you are prepared for colder weather ahead (i.e. snow shovels, snow salt, blankets, firewood, portable heaters, etc.).
- Drain water lines to sprinklers and pools.
- Insulate water pipes.
- Roof leaks, mold, and moss may need to be attended to no matter what season we are in. Northwest Roof Maintenance says to clean your roof whenever it needs it, no matter what time of year, particularly at the beginning of fall since moss loves rain.
- Clear icicles from roof and gutters with a roof rake.
- Check locks and seals.
- Deep clean inside your home.
- Drain humidifiers.
- Clean showerheads.
- Inspect fixtures for loose screws.
- Allstate recommends using seasoned firewood and to keep it stored undercover at least 30 feet from your home.
- Inspect roof, yard, driveway, sidewalk, gutters, and drains.
- Fix any broker window/door screens.
- Prep air conditioner for summer.
- Spring cleaning time! Deep clean inside and outside your home (i.e. garage, deck, etc.).
- Inventory check to see if you are prepared for warmer weather ahead (i.e. AC units and fans).
- Check fire alarms and extinguishers for the dryer weather ahead.
- Indoor and outdoor painting.
- Check for drainage issues (gutter overflow, clogged basement drains, mildew, etc.).
- Pressure wash walls and porch.
- Repair porch if needed.
That white picket fence is more than just a yard ornament. It has become a symbol—our home is where we go to seek coziness and be ourselves 100%. Colder weather tends to mean more times indoors. A healthy home just feels good and makes us comfortably content, wouldn’t you agree? Make sure that your house is 100% ready to meet all your needs. Mosaic wishes you all a happy and safe fall and winter! Here’s to wonderful holidays with friends and family.
Think that we might be able to help you learn more about another insurance related topic? Feel free to reach out to us! Our Marketing Manager, Meagan, loves to hear about all kinds of ideas. You can email her at Meagan@Mosaicia.com or call her at 425-247-0208.
* If you ever have a home emergency or are looking for specific expertise to help with a home repair, consult a professional in that field. *
Information for this item provided by: Progressive Insurance (Life Lanes), Safeco Insurance, Esurance, Allstate, Liberty Mutual, Lula Smarter Home Services, Forbes, Northwest Roof Maintenance, Stanford Children’s Health, National Safety Council, ASecureLife, HomeWarrantyReviews.com, DoughRoller, and Cornerstone Confessions.