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Prevent Water Damage by Starting the Year with a Home Maintenance Inventory

carpenter hammering roof boards with hammer

Home ownership is the largest investment for the majority of Americans. But our homes are much more than a smart investment. They are our refuge and sanctuary, the place where we feel safe, make memories, and exercise our creative energy. This is the time of the year when we get a lot of calls concerning water damage clean-up. Going through your house now, performing routine maintenance, may prevent a water disaster in your home!

Home maintenance routines can help ensure that your property looks great for years to come. But it’s not only about aesthetics. Regular maintenance can guarantee that your family remains safe. A list of tasks is a good starting point to help you cover all the various areas that will need attention. Start the year off right by considering these seasonal tips to make sure your property can handle the remaining winter months.

Inside Your Home

If you missed winter preparation, don’t worry. There’s still time to perform these important indoor tasks.

  • Prepare your heating system – make sure all the vents are open and have your unit serviced. Change filters as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Flush the hot water heater – this will remove sediment, help with efficiency, and prolong the life of the heater.
  • Clean the fireplace and chimney – whether this is done in the spring or the fall, it should be performed annually by a professional.
  • Test the sump pump – this is another annual task that you won’t want to overlook. Don’t wait until you need it to discover it’s not working!
  • Test your electrical outlets – use an outlet tester and make sure you test GFCI outlets, too. It’s a good idea to test GFCI outlets monthly.
  • Tighten handles, knobs, racks – go through your home and identify objects that have loose screws. A few twists of your screwdriver can prevent a mishap.
  • Check your caulking – make sure kitchen and bathroom caulking is in good repair. If not, here’s a great video that can show you how to fix it yourself.
  • Remove faucet aerators and shower heads – simply rinse them well and reinstall them. This will remove sediment, prolong their life, and improve water pressure.
  • Inspect and clean the basement – remove dust, clean the windows, and make sure mold is not finding a place to grow.
  • Clean exhaust fan grills – this includes the fans in the bathroom as well as the vent above your cooking surface.
  • Clean your washer and dryer – run a cleaning cycle in your washer and wipe rubber gaskets, too. Vacuum the lint catcher area and exterior vent of your dryer.
  • Vacuum thoroughly – it’s a good idea to vacuum behind large appliances and furniture at least once every year. Move them away from the wall for the best results.
  • Keep your house warm – heat the inside to a minimum of 65° F. A temperature lower than 65 degrees might not keep the inside walls (where pipes are located) from freezing.
  • Check for the location of the main water shutoff – refresh your memory or learn how to use it in the event of a plumbing emergency.

Outside Your Home

Cold, snow, and rain can create numerous problems. Repairs can be expensive so prevent them by being prepared.

  • Stock up on ice melt and snow shovels – keep sidewalks and entrances to your home free from snow and ice. You don’t want anyone to slip and fall.
  • Regularly check for ice dams and icicles – as pretty as they are, don’t let icicles grow. They pose a danger to people standing beneath them, and they can also create costly ice dams on the roof.
  • Watch for ice dams near gutter downspouts – they can cause water to build up and seep into your house.
  • Clear gutters of leaves and debris – this will allow runoff from melting snow and ice to flow freely.
  • Check for dead or damaged tree branches – snow, ice, or wind could cause them to fall and damage your car or home. Even worse, a falling limb can cause injury. Have them removed.
  • Inspect at-risk pipes regularly – especially if you are experiencing below average temperatures. Don’t wait for a pipe to burst. Take measures to thaw them or call a plumber immediately.
  • Inspect the exterior of your home – exposed wood and trim on the outside of your home need to be appropriately caulked, painted, and sealed. Make necessary repairs now.
  • Inspect your roof – check for holes or damaged shingles. If you spot any issues, hire a professional to make repairs or replace an aging roof.
  • Check your fuel supply – do you heat with gas or oil? Double check current supplies, contracts, and payment methods to ensure regular refuels.
  • Check your attic insulation – hot air rises, and you don’t want it to escape through the roof. If you have concerns, hire a professional to evaluate your current insulation program.

With a few months of winter still to go, take the time to complete any maintenance tasks you may have overlooked. Sometimes despite our best efforts, the unfortunate happens. Quick action can minimize damage and expense to your home. If you need help identifying damage or restoring your property, call Restoration 1 of West Denver today. We can assess the full extent of damage, both unseen and visible, and walk you through the process of restoring your property.