The Importance of Home Maintenance


Whether you own a home or rent a home, your home is likely the biggest investment in your life. You enjoy having a tranquil paradise with your family and pets. You are happy to have a beautiful place to gather with your friends and family. You want to protect your investment and gain the most benefit from it. Therefore, maintaining your biggest investment and protecting it from losing value should be high on your priority list. Prompt attention to maintaining and repairing your property will preserve the value of your investment, avoid more costly repairs, keep your insurance premiums lower, and ensure the longevity of your property. Even if you rent your home and share maintenance responsibilities with your landlord, making sure that the home is well maintained will increase your enjoyment of the home. The following are the key areas of the home that you will need to keep your eyes on for potential maintenance and repair.

Exterior of your house:

· Periodically check your roof’s overall condition. Schedule a handyman or professional roof company to check If there are missing, curled, cracked, or damaged singles or tiles and repair them immediately.

· Ensure the flashing around the vents and chimneys is secure.

· Keep gutters cleaned regularly and properly aligned and secured to the property. Downspouts should direct water away from the home.

Landscaping, walks and porches:

· Check for loose handrails, bannisters and stair coverings. Repair them or replace if needed.

· Repair buckled or cracked retaining walls.

· Mulch and earth should be kept 8 inches below siding.

· Make sure your lot is graded so water drains away from the foundation.

Outside of Walls and framing:

· Check soffits, fascia, siding, brick walls, trim and flashings for any damage or cracks. Make sure to repair them on a timely basis.

· Inspect for termite damage or other signs of insects or rodents or swarms. Remove these pests regularly and repair the damage immediately.

Doors and Windows:

· Replace caulk and weather stripping that has lost contact with surfaces.

· Check windows and doors screens for damage and proper operation. Consider an upgrade or add better protections if needed.

Foundations and basements:

· Look for signs of settling: Walls should not be bulging or shifting or have cracks greater than 1/8 inch wide.

· Check basement and crawlspace for dampness or leakage.

· Test the sump pump prior to every wet season.

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors:

· Change the batteries once a year

· Replace unit when directed by the manufacturer

Plumbing:

· Look around and under appliances and fixtures for leaks or signs of wear

· Regularly check shut-off valves at all fixtures and the main water line to confirm they are in working condition

· Insulate or relocate exposed water pipes

· Replace hoses if needed and make sure there is no water leakage

· Check refrigerator, dishwasher and washing machine water and drainage lines for leaks

· Check water heater condition if there are any wet spots on ground near the tank or a rusted tank. Upgrade or replace them if needed.

Electrical and mechanical systems:

· Have professionals check heating and cooling units periodically

· Replace HVAC filters quarterly or more frequently if recommended by your HVAC professional

· Have an electrician inspect your electrical system every few years

· Clean out clothes dryer duct and damper every few months.

Updates and improvements:

· Updated kitchen and bathrooms or light features and other improvements will always improve your home value

· Install water leak detection devices around appliances and fixtures. Select a system that will automatically shut down the water supply in the event a leak is detected.

· Add deadbolt locks to all your exterior doors (use Grade 1 deadbolts). Use a heavy-duty strike plate with 3-inch screws with all deadbolt locks. Strengthen the door frame by installing a door jamb reinforcement product.

· Install an alarm system to detect intruders, fires and unsafe levels or carbon monoxide.

· Consider a lightning protection system to divert lighting strikes.

· Install whole house surge protection and arc fault circuit breakers. Install plug-in surge protectors to protect against electrical surge damage to sensitive electronic equipment.

· Consider UL-listed Class 3 or 4 roof covering for better resistance to hail impact. You may be eligible for an annual discount on your homeowner’s insurance premium for the life of the roof.

· Use shingles rated for at least 110 mph in high-wind areas. Some areas may require higher rated shingles.

· In climates where ice dams can occur, install self-adhering ice and water barriers at eaves and valleys to protect against water infiltration.

This information is adopted from State Farm Insurance Company. If you need more information on how to prevent home damage and improve home safety, please visit the State Farm website: www. Statefarm.com

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