For many of us, spring is the perfect time of year to invest in any cleaning and renovation projects that are overdue. And while updates and tidying up are an essential and rewarding activity for the season, there is one important aspect of spring home improvement that often gets overlooked: safety.
From checking your smoke alarms to dealing with pests, there are a few important steps to take before the summer heat kicks in. Here are five ways you can take extra precautions to protect your home and family this spring.
Make spring home improvement repairs a priority
Making sure all areas of your home are in working order can go a long way in ensuring no accidents or costly damages pop up, especially before spring showers and summer downpours roll in.
“Check your gutters and downspouts to make sure they’re clear of clogs from leaves or other debris,” said Ray Eng, vice president of insurance sales at AAA Northeast. “Damaged or clogged gutters or downspouts are a leading cause of water damage and water getting into a basement.” Although this kind of water damage is covered by most home insurance policies, being proactive helps to minimize the effects.
Aside from potential water damage, Eng suggests keeping an eye out for potential safety hazards that may have happened over the winter. “Common issues from cold Northeastern winters are damage to siding, roofing, chimneys or walkways,” he said. “While routine maintenance like replacing siding or shingles is not covered, damage resulting from [winter weather] should be.” Again, getting ahead of potential issues is always your best bet.
Inside, it’s important to make sure the floors are slip resistant, and that there are safety features like grab bars and night lights in the bathroom, especially if a senior is part of your household.
Ditch the dust
It’s easy to get lazy with housekeeping during the gray winter months. Set aside a day to do a deep clean and spend some time removing dust in every area of your house, especially in the hard-to- reach spots. After the big base clean, try to vacuum and dust regularly to maintain the air quality of your home. This will help to lessen complications with asthma and allergies. Of course, you’ll also want to check your air conditioner, air purifiers and other appliances to replace any filters and make sure they’re clean and working properly.
Check your smoke alarms
According to the American Red Cross, housefires are the most common disaster in the U.S. and missing or inoperative smoke alarms are a major safety concern. Aside from testing your alarms once a month, you’ll want to replace your batteries every spring. Make sure you do the same for your carbon monoxide detectors, and double check your fire extinguishers to confirm they’re up to date.
Push out pests
The reemergence of pests and pesky insects is one of the less enjoyable aspects of spring, but it’s important to set a plan to deal with them early. If you suspect there may have been rodents or other critters hiding out in your basement or garage over the colder months, do a thorough search for their nests and call an animal control expert if necessary.
Mice in particular can cause damage by chewing on electrical wires, while bird nests can sometimes cause blockages in chimneys and air vents. “Damages to your home caused by such pests are typically not covered as part of your homeowners policy,” said Eng. As a result, it’s better to take extra precaution against pests before any real damage is done.
Install or upgrade your security system
Prior to your summer vacation away from home, springtime is the best opportunity to make sure your property is secure and protected. Although you might live in a low-crime area, it’s always a good idea to have a proper security system installed. Today’s technology allows security companies to install complex motion sensors and outdoor video cameras that can connect seamlessly to your smartphone for added peace of mind. Motion sensor lights are another simple precaution that can scare away would-be burglars and prevent a costly break-ins.
We hope these spring home improvement tips have been useful. If you have an extra safety tip, please share it in the comments.
For more home maintenance tips, take a look at this helpful season-by-season schedule.