Have you ever unintentionally left a candlestick burning untended? Or left home without switching on the home security system? You most likely made a subconscious note to yourself to not do it again, but otherwise didn’t think much about it.
But next time, you might possibly not get so lucky. A simple “uh oh” could cause thousands of dollars in damages to your property.
Here are five ideas to avoid common homeowner missteps:
Tip 1: Clean out the filtration system on your clothes dryer
Why? Fire. Those wads of lint that get snagged in your dryer’s filter can pose a serious fire hazard. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission determines that clothes dryers cause more than 15,000 house fires a year.
Your approach: Be sure to totally empty the lint trap each time you use your clothes dryer. Also, make certain your clothes dryer ducts are metal, because they’re less prone to droop and permit lint to accumulate.
Tip 2: Cut tree limbs that dangle alongside your house
Why? Roof or other property damage. A violent storm or wind storm could certainly sweep through your local community and slam those limbs onto your roof, creating significant destruction.
Your approach: Consult with an arborist or tree surgeon about any trees in your yard that might just present a risk.
Tip 3: Don’t place card board cartons from recent expensive purchases out on the curb with the rubbish
Why? Theft. By putting boxes in a noticeable location, you’re putting out an alert to thieves that you have expensive things in your house.
Your approach: Cut boxes up and put them into the trash or recycling container.
Tip 4: Make your residence look lived in when you’re on a holiday vacation
Why? Theft. An empty home is an easy target for criminals.
Your approach. Have your mail and newspaper deliveries put on hold or have a reliable neighbor get and secure them until your return. Not only do stacks of mail indicate that a home is vacant, but criminals can sort through letters to rip off your identity. You also might want to arrange for a person to take care of your landscaping if you’ll be gone for more than a couple of days, and think about installing central alarms, motion detectors, or timed lights that will light up the area surrounding your property at night.
Tip 5: Check appliance water hoses
Why: Water damage. Hoses for washing machines and refrigerators decay and should be changed before they spring a leak. The water supply line to the icemaker could also be a water leak waiting to happen.
Your approach: Change out washing machine supply lines every five years. If you see the plastic line along the back of the refrigerator getting discolored (yellow or brown), have a home appliance repair professional take a look.
In spite of your best efforts to effectively maintain and protect your home, disasters and misfortunes still happen, which is why it’s also essential to understand what your homeowners insurance does, and doesn’t, pay for. As an example, no homeowners insurance will cover flood damages from natural disasters, so you might want to secure federal flood insurance if you reside in an area susceptible to flooding. Additionally, check to see if yours is a guaranteed replacement cost policy, which would pay to reconstruct your residence if it’s drastically damaged or destroyed. The protection is rare, but some companies provide it in their standard homeowners policies.