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Spring Cleaning Claims Prevention Tips

April 12, 2018

Tracey

April showers bring May flowers, and it also means it is time to freshen things up. Spring cleaning is not just about closets, cupboards, decks and windows.  Spring cleaning should also include some home maintenance of your structures, appliances, and systems.  This will not only ensure everything is clean and in good working order, but will also assist in claims loss prevention.

Help to offset some of the risks by checking:

  • Gutters, downspouts and perimeter drains: Pull leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. Reattach gutters that have pulled away from the house. Run a hose on the roof and check for proper drainage. If leaks exist, dry the area and use caulking or epoxy to seal the leak. If drains back up, have a certified professional come and check your perimeter drainage for tree roots or blockages.
  • Siding: Clean siding to keep mold from growing. Check all wood surfaces for weathering and paint failure. If wood is showing through, sand the immediate area and apply a primer coat before painting. If paint is peeling, scrape loose paint and sand smooth before painting. If the wood has rotted, ensure replacement or repair of the deck, deck coating or boards.
  • Window sills, door sills, and thresholds: Fill cracks, caulk edges, repaint or replace if necessary.
  • Window and door screens: Clean screens and check for holes. Patch holes or replace the screen. Save bad screen to patch holes next year. Tighten or repair any loose or damaged frames and repaint. Replace broken, worn, or missing hardware to avoid compromise for break ins.
  • Hot water tank: have it checked with your annual furnace servicing, and ensure the drain is in good working order.
  • Furnace or heat pump: Have your furnace system serviced annually and be sure to lubricate the blower motor.
  • Foundation: Check foundation walls, floors, concrete, and masonry for cracking, heaving, or deterioration. If a significant number of bricks are losing their mortar, or if you can slide a nickel into a crack in your concrete floor, slab or foundation, call a professional immediately.
  • Roof: Inspect, clean and repair roof surface flashing, eaves, and soffits.
  • Deck and porches: Check all decks, patios, porches, stairs, and railings for deterioration.
  • Landscape: This is a natural for spring home maintenance. Cut back and trim all vegetation and overgrown bushes and trees. This helps with perimeter drainage, as well as falling tree exposure. Ensure no wood or debris is stored near the home to reduce fire exposures as well as allow thieves an easy access to upper levels.
  • Sprinklers: Have interior sprinkler systems serviced if you have them. Check lawn sprinkler system for leaky valves, exposed lines, and improperly working sprinkler heads. If there is an area of your yard that collects too much water (or not enough), run the sprinklers to figure out the problem. If it’s not something you can fix yourself, call a professional before your lawn needs the water.
  • BBQ propane tanks check expiry dates and connections.
  • Exposed plumbing and pipes: check under sinks and attached fixtures for any leaks or wear.
  • Dryer vent: clean out your dryer vent and hoses for lint build up.
  • Concrete paths and walkways: check that no shifting or cracks have caused uneven surfaces or tripping hazards.

Remember, whenever you have a professional contractor come to work at your home make sure they have all the necessary accreditations and a Commercial General Liability policy.  This will cover the scope of work they will be doing for property damage or any injuries they may cause