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10 Home Maintenance Tasks To Do Before Winter

10 Home Maintenance Tasks To Do Before Winter

As the days get shorter and the temperatures get colder, you may start to think of the upcoming holidays and snuggling up under a warm blanket at home. But before you start sipping hot cocoa, there are some projects around the house you may want to take care of first.

Here are some home maintenance tasks to consider completing before you settle in for the cold winter:

CHECK YOUR FURNACE
It’s a good idea to do some basic maintenance to help keep your heating system running smoothly through the winter. Check your furnace filter, and change it if it looks dirty, says ENERGY STAR. The filter should be replaced at least every three months. It’s also a good idea to have your furnace cleaned and checked by a professional annually, says ENERGY STAR.

INSPECT YOUR ROOF
The National Roofing Contractors Association recommends having your roof inspected twice a year to check for any signs of damage. Whether you inspect it yourself or hire a professional, spotting potential problems, like damaged or missing shingles, may help you avoid a bigger problem and potentially more expensive repairs down the road. That’s why it’s a good idea to make any necessary small repairs before the sleet, ice and snow of winter arrive.

FILL GAPS AROUND WINDOWS AND DOORS
Drafts around windows and doors can leave you feeling cold, and they could be wasting energy as your furnace works harder to warm that cool air. Angi recommends applying caulk around the window trim to seal off any drafts. Another option is to install weatherstripping around edges of doors and windows to create a tight seal, says Angie’s List. You can also make a simple door draft blocker to help keep heat from escaping under your door.

TEST THE SUMP PUMP
As water drains from under and around your home, your sump pump pushes it out of the house and away from the foundation. Have a professional inspect your sump pump each year to ensure it is working properly, says the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. You can also consult your sump pump’s owner’s manual and perform some basic maintenance and regular testing yourself.

INSPECT YOUR CHIMNEY AND FIREPLACE
There’s something special about a warm fire on a cold winter’s night, but it’s important to get your chimneys, vents and fireplace cleaned first. The National Fire Protection Association recommends having a professional chimney sweep clean and inspect your fireplace and chimney. If you have a gas fireplace, your chimney and flue should be inspected for any blockages, says the Chimney Safety Institute of America. A professional will also inspect the gas lines and vents for leaks and can make necessary repairs.

CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS
Clogged gutters can lead to issues like water damage, loosened gutters, ice dams and issues with insects and rodents. Make sure your gutters and downspouts are cleared of leaves, sticks and other debris at least twice a year — whether you handle this chore yourself or call a professional.

STORE YOUR OUTDOOR FURNITURE
Winter can be hard on patio furniture. Wicker, plastic, resin and wood furniture should be cleaned (follow the manufacturer’s directions) and stored indoors for the winter, says HGTV. Teak and metal furniture can be stored outdoors year-round, although you’ll want to clean it appropriately to help protect it during the winter, says HGTV. Consider covering furniture to help protect it, and store cushions and patio umbrellas indoors.

TURN OFF OUTSIDE FAUCETS
In cold weather, water in exterior pipes can freeze and cause pipes to burst. So, before the temperatures dip, disconnect garden hoses from outdoor faucets. If your exterior faucets have shutoff valves, The Family Handyman recommends turning them off. Then, release any water remaining in the pipe by opening and closing the outside tap. You can also help protect exterior faucets with an insulated cover, says The Family Handyman.

Content courtesy of Allstate.

Posted by admin in Home
Show Your Home Some Love With These Spring Cleaning Tips!

Show Your Home Some Love With These Spring Cleaning Tips!

It’s never too early to plan for spring cleaning!

Spring cleaning is the perfect time to check in with your insurance agent and make sure your coverage is up to date, while you’re at it see if you can save money by combining your home and auto policies.

Here are a few things inside and outside your home that should be inspected to determine if they are in good condition:

INSIDE YOUR HOME
Electrical Outlets and Cords: Check electrical outlets and cords throughout your home for any potential fire hazards such as frayed wires or loose-fitting plugs. Extension cords and power strips are not designed to be permanent fixtures and should only be used on an interim basis.

Fire Extinguishers: Check your fire extinguisher at least once yearly, including the hose, nozzle and other parts to determine if they are in good condition and that the pressure gauge is in the “green” range. Check the expiration date. If necessary, move your fire extinguisher to an accessible place so that you can get to it easily in an emergency.

Air Conditioning: Check around the unit for indications of leaks. Before turning it on for the season, have your air-conditioning system inspected and tuned up by a professional. Check the drain lines annually and clean them if they are clogged. Change the air filter.

Water Heater: Check for leaks and corrosion. Check your owner’s manual for any recommended maintenance.

Furnace or Boiler: Have your furnace or boiler cleaned or inspected annually.

Under Sinks and Around Toilets: Look for any signs of leaks or corrosion on pipes, supply lines and fixtures.

Plumbing: Check exposed pipes and valves in your basement or crawl spaces, if safely accessible, for signs of leaking or corrosion.

Appliances: Check supply lines for washing machines, ice makers and water dispensers, refrigerators, and dishwashers for signs of leaks or wear and tear.

Plumbing for Hose Spigots and Irrigation Systems: After opening valves for outdoor water supplies, be sure to inspect components for leaks. Don’t forget to check inside plumbing as well as outdoor spigots.

Dryers: Dryer lint can build up inside the vent pipe and collect around the duct. Clean both the clothes dryer exhaust duct and the space under the dryer. Use a brush to clean out the vent pipe. Look for lint buildup around the lint trap and clean it as needed.

Smoke Detectors: Daylight savings time is a good time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors. Inspect each smoke detector to determine if all are in working order, and make sure to test them monthly. Ideally, there should be at least one smoke detector on each floor of your home, including outside of each bedroom, and one within each bedroom itself.

Light bulbs: Check each light bulb in every fixture for the correct recommended wattage and replace any burned out bulbs.


OUTSIDE YOUR HOME
Roof
: Check for any damage from snow or ice, and make any necessary repairs to reduce the possibility of leaks. If you have a skylight, check outside for a buildup of leaves and debris. Also, check the indoor ceiling for signs of leaks. Remember to put safety first any time you are on a roof. If you have any doubt, leave it to the professionals.

Gutters: Clean leaves and other debris from gutters and downspouts to keep water flowing and reduce the possibility of water damage.

Trees: Visually inspect trees for damage or rot, and remove (consider hiring a licensed professional) any dead trees that might blow over in heavy winds or during a storm. Keep healthy trees and bushes trimmed and away from utility wires.

Lawn Equipment: Make sure lawn mowers, tractors and other equipment are tuned up before using. Store oil and gas for lawn equipment and tools in a vented, locked area.

Walkways and Driveways: Repair any cracks and broken or uneven surfaces to provide a safer, level walking area.

Posted by admin in Home
The worst phone call…

The worst phone call…

THE WORST PHONE CALL

Today was just another day sheltering in place…

…until I received a call from an attorney asking for the details of a policy belonging to one of my clients. I smiled when I heard her name and wondered innocently what has she gotten herself into. Regrettably, said the attorney, she had passed in an auto accident last week.

Full. Stop.

It takes a moment to really digest that kind of information. I thought of her daughter, and all the pictures she posted on social media of her creative work. I remembered how many times she called to tell me that she was going to be a little late paying a bill. She was fighting the good fight to provide for her daughter and stay on top of her bills. I just couldn’t pressure her to pay a little more for life insurance, even if it was only $20 a month. I thought I was being kind by not being pushy.

But now I have regret. I know the value of having even just a little life insurance and what a huge difference it makes for the people who love you. I know how tight her budget was, but I have to wonder if I didn’t fail her.

I know that we all have a heightened awareness of Covid-19 spreading through the community. That we worry about becoming sick ourselves or, maybe worse, the people we love becoming sick and what that might mean. It’s important to remember that life, and death, will go on despite a lockdown or quarantine.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared. If you have life insurance in place, review your coverage and ask questions about it. I’m here, and I can help. If you don’t have life insurance, or you have a policy, but you’re worried that it might be tied to your job, please reach out and let me help you find something that is affordable and will really make a difference to those you love.

You can reach me anytime at (800) 304-3254 or send me an email.

Please be safe out there!
Gina

Posted by admin in Roman Insurance Services