Fall has arrived and that is the perfect time to do some basic home maintenance that may prevent a loss from occurring.
1)Heating System: Now is a great time to give your heat system a check up before you turn it on. If you have baseboard heaters, you should vacuum them to keep them free from dust and debris. While your there be sure nothing lays on them like drapes for example. If you have a furnace, you should call in an insured HVAC contractor to come and give your system a tune up. Certain items need to be cleaned and replaced on the furnace directly. They also may be able to clean out any heating ducts for you or direct you to someone who can. (This will help with allergies too!) If your furnace uses air filters buy a bunch, keep them on hand and change them every month.
2) Detection: You should change batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Every home should have a carbon monoxide detector in the room where the furnace is located and in the kitchen. Most of the new detectors are hard wired with a 10 year battery back up. Be sure to test these at least quarterly, maybe more to be sure they are working properly.
3)Windows: Make sure all windows are closed and locked. If you still feel drafts you can always get those plastic window insulation kits or save even more money by buying a roll of plastic and cut and measure yourself. Use thin cardboard strips around the edges and cover with the plastic so it is flush against the window and thumb tacks to secure in place.
4)Doors: Check for drafts around your doorways too. If you have glass panels you can plastic them too. Also if it is entrance you are not using you can get weather strip and place along the door jam. Just be sure you can still get out in case of emergency. They also sell strips for the bottom of the door that still allow the door to be opened and closed regularly.
5)Chimney: If you have a fireplace or woodstove it is critical that this be cleaned regularly. Otherwise buildup and residue inside can start a fire. Also be sure and keep any stacks of wood away from your home. Not inside or too close to the wood burning unit.
6) Outside: Don’t forget about outside too. Look for any loose boards, bricks or stones in walkways, & rake any leaves these all pose trip, slip and fall hazards especially once the snow and ice start to build up. Clean out your gutters, the clogs could cause water to not drain properly and may cause ice buildup in the winter or excess along the foundation and walkways. Don’t leave leftover fuel from mowers or weed-whackers in the equipment. If left in the equipment it can cause sediment and possibly prevent the equipment from working properly when you need them again. Be sure to store gas cans in a safe place and out of reach of children.
Lastly, have a safety plan in place. Go over exits with children, have a fire drill, teach your children where and what the detectors are and what to do if they go off. Designate a meeting place across the street or neighbors to meet in the event of an emergency.