New homes usually look so perfect that it seems they might magically maintain themselves. Let us end the suspense: they don't. Even the freshest of pads can deteriorate quickly if not cared for properly, bringing costly repairs and major homeowners insurance claims. Here's our primer on the ounce of prevention (to save you the pound of cure).
wear and tear vs. damage
When you buy a house, it's important to understand the main purpose of your homeowners insurance: protecting you from major damage risks like fires, explosions, and windstorms. What it's not intended for is guarding against everyday wear and tear. That's why it's important to know the value of your home, meaning what it would cost to replace it, not simply to improve it.
When it comes to things like keeping appliances running, garage doors opening, and water flowing, the job is up to you. That's why it's crucial for homeowners to learn about proper home maintenance. Not only can regular upkeep on your abode help you avoid paying for major repairs out of your own pocket, it can also help deter homeowners claims that could bring a spike in your premium.
7 helpful home maintenance tips
Most homeowners can manage these tasks on their own.
Clean vents and filters
Whether they run from your dryer, air conditioner, heater, septic tank, or any other part of your home, dirty or clogged vents and filters can cause serious problems. For instance, letting lint accumulate in the screen of your dryer can cause a fire. And ignoring the filter in your AC unit might lead to an early breakdown. When you consider that a new air conditioner can run up to $10,000, you'll be kicking yourself for not taking a few minutes and spending a few bucks to swap filters.
Keep water-based appliances in check
Most importantly, this involves draining your water heater (about once a year) and pumping your septic tank (every 3-5 years). This helps extend their life and keeps leaks from springing or sewage from backing up. A faulty septic system can tank (if you'll pardon the pun) the value of your home when you put it on the market.
Make sure your alarms are working
Not exactly rocket science, but the busier you are, the easier it gets to procrastinate. By being attentive, though, and making sure things like your smoke alarms and security systems have batteries and are in tip-top shape, you might avoid fire or burglary claims later and shrink your premium for being so responsible.
Clean your refrigerator coils
Dirty coils cause the generator to work a lot harder than it should — and they're one of the top causes of fridge problems. The good news: this is one of easiest household chores you could hope for. Simply unplug your fridge, unsnap the grill to reach the coils (which are usually at the base, either in front or back) and sweep up any hair, debris, or dirt that has accumulated. Once every 3-6 months should be plenty.
Clear the gutters
Gutters, you could say, are the arteries of the house. You need to keep their paths clear to make sure your home gets rid of what it doesn't need. Clogged gutters don't allow water to flow the way it should. It can pool around the house, causing flooding, mold, or rot.
Gutters filled with vegetation, leaves, or other dry debris are ticking tinderboxes, just waiting to ignite when it gets hot. Get up on that ladder and clean your drain pipes every few months to prevent a variety of headaches.
Hiring a professional to blast away dirt and absorb moisture about once a year could be well worth the cost. Letting your rugs go untended could lead to mold growth, which isn't covered on many homeowners policies.
Look for holes and gaps
These can spring up just about anywhere, so make sure to do a thorough inspection around your place. For starters: check the roof for any leaks, make sure the chimney isn't missing mortar, and watch out for cracks between windows and doors. These sorts of holes leave you vulnerable to flooding claims and infestations and also lead to increased energy costs.
take pride in your home — and save
Homeownership is challenging but very rewarding. You've learned about the challenges. As for the reward, that comes with watching your homeowners discounts stack up as you stay claims-free and keep your place looking its best inside and out.
Get a free homeowners insurance quote now to start enjoying top-notch protection for your digs.
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