A homeowner with a tool belt ready for preventative home maintenance

Critical Preventative Home Maintenance Tips to Avoid Common Dangers

The joys of homeownership can be tarnished when the minor costs of upkeep turn into major repairs or loss. You can avoid big headaches by being proactive instead of reactive. Preventative home maintenance is the key to stopping an inconvenience from turning into a catastrophe. If you follow some basic home maintenance tips, you can keep your home in peak condition for decades to come.

Avoid a Flood: Test Your Sump Pump

Moisture is a constant threat to any structure. Sump pumps prevent water from building up near your home’s most vulnerable place: the foundation. If your sump pump fails, you could come home to a basement flooded with water!

How you can test your sump pump depends on the model your home has. For many, you can simply turn them off and back on and listen for a hum. If they hum, they’re still functional. For others, you may need to manually fill the sump pit to see if it kicks on when the float rises and activates the pump.

If you’re not sure how to test your pump, you should contact the manufacturer. You don’t want to risk damaging your sump pump! And it’s important to know that it’s working. Water damage can happen quickly and it’s expensive to repair.

Additionally, a lot of homeowners aren’t protected by flood insurance because it’s not required – either they own the property without a mortgage or their property is far enough from flood zones that it’s not needed for a loan. However, flood damage can impact almost any home. You don’t want to be left uninsured when extreme weather sends gallons of water into your basement.

Inspect Your Basement for Cracks

Another one of our most recommended preventative home maintenance tips is to keep an eye out for foundation damage. As homes age, they’re exposed to constant external pressures due to moisture in the ground and settling. This pressure can crack your foundation – weakening its ability to keep your home stable and possibly letting water into your property.

The earlier you spot a crack, the easier it is to fix. Small cracks can be repaired with basic injections that prevent further damage for the time being. If the cracks grow too large, a full foundation repair may be necessary, which is far more expensive and time-consuming.

Preventative maintenance isn’t just about keeping your home safer, it’s about avoiding major costs. A small crack fixed today could save you over $10,000 in foundation repairs later!

Clean Your Dryer Vents

Water isn’t the only risk to your home. Over 350,000 house fires happen every year, accounting for over $6.7 billion in damage. One of the most common causes of house fires are clogged dryer vents.

Over time, the dryer vent in your home clogs with lint and debris that doesn’t fully make it out. The longer this goes without cleaning, the higher your risk of a dryer fire. There are some signs you can look for that your vent may be getting clogged:

  • Clothes are much hotter than expected when coming out of the dryer
  • Running your dryer causes the room it’s in to grow excessively hot
  • Musty odors in your dryer following a cycle
  • Strong odor of the dryer sheets during the cycle
  • High volumes of lint in the lint trap after every cycle

In addition to cleaning your lint trap every cycle, you should consider cleaning your dryer vent periodically. Clean the lint pipe every few months and look into hiring a professional to ensure the entire vent is clear at least once a year.

Have Your Chimney Inspected

Like dryer vents, chimneys are a danger in households when they aren’t properly maintained. They also clog – but instead due to several other factors.

Burning fires leaves a byproduct known as creosote. Creosote builds up and restricts airflow, but more importantly, it’s extremely flammable. When creosote ignites, it can burn hot enough to damage flue liners and masonry. Enough heat and the fires can spread to nearby wood in your home’s construction, causing a fire.

In addition to creosote, external obstructions from bird nests, branches and debris can prevent airflow. These obstructions impact your fireplace’s functionality but can also cause carbon monoxide to buildup in your home. Carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless and invisible – but it can kill.

Scheduling an annual chimney inspection should be high on any list of preventative home maintenance tips. These inspections and cleanings identify risks that could lead to fire or poisoning.

Perform a Casual Roof Inspection

On the opposite side of your home’s foundation is another critical piece to a safe home: a sturdy roof. And like your foundation, a home’s roof suffers constant attrition from the weather. As the damage accumulates, leaks are inevitable.

A failing roof is hard to spot. You rarely get a chance to look closely, so it’s hard to see small breaches running through it. But it’s critical not to allow a damaged roof to go unrepaired. Water damage invading through the roof can further weaken it and eventually lead to collapse.

Even in less catastrophic circumstances, a leaky roof is an invitation to mold. Mold may do damage less directly, but its risks are just as great. Molds and moisture will damage your property, but it also opens your family to illness and costly medical care.

A roof can last 10-25 years, depending on your area, the weather and how well you maintain it. The closer you keep your eye on it, the less likely you are to experience catastrophic damage. Like other parts of your home, don’t skip regular inspections!

If your roof is nearing two decades, you should start saving for the eventual costs associated with replacing the roof. It’s a lot better than fixing damage from a failed one – and then having to replace it anyway!

Contact Iott Insurance for a Quote Today

Iott Insurance has been a part of southeast Michigan for over 50 years. We can help you plan your insurance needs and find you the right policies or plans to protect you.

Get a quote today!

Or you can visit one of our three offices in southeast Michigan:

Blissfield, MI – (517) 486-4381

Lambertville, MI – (734) 854-4688

Petersburg, MI – (734) 279-2111

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