Everything you need to know about insurance basics, like coverage types, limits, cost and more.
How to Get Your House Ready For Summer
When the temperature outside starts to rise, summer is officially in the air. But is your home ready to handle the heat? Getting your house ready for the summer months is an important part of home maintenance and care. So get into the spring cleaning mood with this checklist of chores to prepare your home for summer.
Outdoor Summer Prep
Nature can be our best friend or our worst enemy, and the same goes for your home. On those dry, cool days, you don’t have much to worry about. But storms, flooding or extreme heat can come at any time, and when they do, your home will need to be prepared. So what should you do to get ready?
Check the foundation. If your house has a raised foundation, the change of seasons can be rough on it — especially when it comes to snow melt and ice. Water can get between the house and the driveway or patio, freezing and expanding, which creates a space that can result in water seeping into the basement. If the gap is bigger than a quarter inch, pick up some foam backer rod, concrete caulk and a caulking gun to fill the crack. You should also make sure your foundation vents are clear of debris and have no standing water.
Inspect the roof. You may need to invest in some roof repair after the winter, especially if you had issues with ice dams. Getting a good look at your roof situation takes some prep, so be safe. And if you notice water damage in your ceilings or attic, it’s definitely time to contact a professional roofing contractor.
Check your attic. You might have had some seasonal guests, like mice or squirrels, make a nest and leave gifts for you over the snowy months. Make sure you wear a dust mask — or better yet, a respirator — and plastic over your shoes in case of droppings. These can carry diseases long after their source has left the building, so use caution when cleaning.
Is your air conditioner running? Inspect the unit for animal nests, damage and debris. If you decide to clean it yourself, take care not to damage any coils or the condensing unit itself. Check to see if it’s running properly using your thermostat inside. If the unit kicks on and cools your house quickly, you’re golden. But if it takes a while or just doesn’t turn on at all, you should call a professional. Learn more about heating and cooling systems.
Clean the gutters and downspouts. A messy gutter can cause all sorts of problems, from ice dams to water damage to the gutters literally falling off the house from the weight. Clean your gutters twice per year — once in the spring and once in the fall — to avoid any trouble with clogs.
Attend to the yard. Clear your yard of winter debris and rake leaves that you missed last fall. Check your fence posts to make sure they’re still sturdy, straight and undamaged. Get the lawn mower up and running to keep your yard free of pests. Keep in mind that cleaning up your yard is more than just good for its health and the health of your home — it’ll raise its curb appeal, too.
Check the deck. After the long winter, your deck may need a bit of TLC. Scrub it down, make sure it’s dry and stain it to maintain the wood. Bring your outdoor furniture out of storage from the garage or basement and give it a good dusting. And don’t forget to give some attention to your grill! With a little bit of work, you can get your deck or patio in shape for summer fun.
Indoor Pre-summer Maintenance
After you’ve tackled the outside, it’s time to head inside! Fortunately, it’s easier to maintain the inside of your home over the winter, and while you might have less to do indoors you’ll want to check a few of these things before enjoying the warm weather.
Replace the furnace filter. Keep the dust out of your vents by replacing the filter in your furnace. Ideally, this should be done once every four months or so, but if you have pets it’s best to replace it once every two or three months. This will keep your heating and cooling system running smoothly and minimize fire hazards.
Clean out the dryer vent. Reduce the risk of starting a house fire by making sure the dryer vent is lint-free and isn’t blocked by debris. Your dryer and wallet will thank you, and so will your house!
Make those windows sparkle. Take the nice weather as an opportunity to open the windows and clean them off. Clear the window wells of debris and assess the screens for any damage. If you have high windows that can’t be cleaned easily, it might be best to hire window cleaners to get at them from the outside.
All of this might seem like a lot of work, but it will pay off later when you don’t have to pay for expensive repairs on something that could have been caught earlier. Plus, it gets you in touch with your home and its quirks, especially if you just moved in recently. Don’t wait for your A/C unit to take a dive or your gutters to overflow — get out there and enjoy the weather while you prepare for summer!
If you have questions about whether or not your homeowners insurance covers certain types of damage to your home, contact your American Family Insurance agent. They’ll help you understand what your home insurance covers and how to file a claim if you need to.