A bi-yearly or yearly, depending on where you live, inspection of your property and home is good practice to create. The seasons can be rough on your home's exterior and interior. Winter freezes can be especially rough on roofs and chimneys and affect the interior and exterior walls, windows, foundations, and decks.
Taking the following precautions can save money, time and the headache of a homeowners insurance claim.
This does not require you to climb up there, you can inspect and spot potential trouble with binoculars and a keen eye. If you see shingles that appear to have shift, or not inline, it could indicate that fasters have failed and need to be replaced. You might also spot cracked and missing shingles, or lumps where the nails have come loose and pushed the tabs of the shingles up, this can allow water to drip through.
No matter if you have brick, stucco, or wood siding, occasional inspection is essential to ward off expensive future repairs. Look under gutter downspouts and eaves. Water stains typically indicated your gutters are not sufficiently containing water runoff. If your home has wood siding, check wood spacing for openings, look at the knots in the wood, have the knots popped out? Openings in a wood exterior allow carpenter ants and bees and other critters, to burrow and nest.
When conducting your yearly or twice a year home inspection don't forget your homes foundation. You are looking masonry cracks. If you discover cracks, household caulking will not do the job.
You will want to employ a foundation specialist that can utilize an epoxy injection system that chemically bonds the cracks.
Your windows were installed with weather stripping and caulk, over time these products erode, leaving space for air leakage. During the summer months, you might not notice as much, but cool air flowing in is usually detectable during the winter and indicates a new seal is needed. If the caulk around the window needs replacing, this is an easy fix. Simply strip the old caulk, clean the area, and apply a fresh caulk seal. If your windows are double pane and you experience condensation inside the double pane, your weather seal has been compromised and needs repair. Generally, you will need to consult a window repair company.
HVAC (Twice a Year)
You should check your HVAC system twice a year. In the fall, before using the heating system and in the spring before engaging air conditioning. You want to check hose connections for leaks and that the drip pans drain freely. Your HVAC unit endures all the hardships the seasons have to offer. Over time, the HVAC unit acquires dust and leaves, and debris can find its way past the exterior screening. Vacuum dust and debris from the unit and connections; if you notice a cooling or heating performance issue, you will need to call in a professional for assistance.
Inspect your attic for signs of intrusion. Have insects, rodents or other critters set up house. Look for mold growth; mold can look like patches of black or gray stains. Adequate ventilation and insulation deter mold and immediately address mold issues to prevent a problem from developing in the summer months.
Checking leaky faucets, slow drains, and sweaty pipes, inside and outside your home, can save you money and headache. Check under the bathroom, utility room, and kitchen sinks for any discolored buildup on the lines. Discolored buildup running down the pipes indicates a leak. A steady leak can erode the wood below and turn a quick fix into an expensive remodel in a very short time. Check your refrigerator ice and water hoses, especially when spring cleaning, after pulling it away from the wall. Puddled water around the dishwasher, washing machine, water heater flooring indicates a hose problem exists and needs addressing before a full-on flood event occurs. While checking the dishwasher hosing is not as easy, checking the water heater and washing machine hoses for deterioration, corrosion, and cracking is easier. You might feel more comfortable calling a plumber to address these items.
Outdoor water systems
Faucet pipes and sprinkler systems should be checked before engaging them in the spring.
Decks and Patios
Inspect your deck for loose, warped, or splintered boards and, if found, repair or replace them as soon as possible. Regardless of the type of material used to build your deck, cleaning and removing debris from your deck, especially between the boards, maintenance must be done yearly to extend the material's life. If your deck is starting to look faded and worn, consider deep cleaning and reapplying stain and sealant, splintering wood can be sanded first. Slip and trip accidents on decks and patios happen fairly frequently. To help keep your homeowners insurance in Lake Charles, Louisiana injury claim-free, deck maintenance remains at the top of our list of bi-yearly maintenance chores.
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