home-maintenanceHomeowners can find themselves surprised at how much maintenance they need to do to their houses, even new ones. Sometimes, the maintenance is simple, like plunging a toilet or touching up paint on a wall. Other times, home maintenance projects require the help of a professional. Skipping these projects—big or small—could wind up costing you in the long run in the form of expensive insurance claims, premium hikes or out of pocket expenses. Here’s a look at some common maintenance projects that you’ll regret if you forget.

Mind Your Window Wells

If you’ve never had an issue with water in a window well, odds are you may never think to clean it out. Unfortunately, a window well full of leaves and debris can act as a liner, preventing drainage of any rainfall. During a heavy downpour, the water level in the well will rise and put pressure on your basement windows. As the pressure builds, the windows could break, allowing gallons of water to invade your basement, leaving a wake of destruction in its path.

H2-Oh No

It’s also easy to ignore your plumbing and gutters until something goes wrong. Broken pipes and appliance failures, such as a water heater or washing machine problem, can cause thousands of dollars of damage to your home by the time you can get the problem fixed. As a preventative measure, check supply hoses on your appliances and replace them if they’re worn or leaking. You should be able to keep your gutters clean with the help of a ladder or, if you prefer, hire professionals. The time and investment could save you in the long run as the average water damage claim hovers around $7,000.

Plugged Dryer Vents

A plugged dryer vent will cause your dryer to run inefficiently but could also cause a potentially deadly house fire. Dryers that are centrally located in houses are more prone to plugging because of the longer ducts. Excess lint isn’t the only reason ducts get clogged, nesting pests and stuck hood flaps can lead to backups. Strong odors being emitted from your dryer, and longer dry times are two signs your vent is plugged. You’ll have to remove the vent from the back of the dryer to clean it. Suck debris from the duct with a wet/dry vac or use a cleaning kit, available at your local home improvement stores.

Where There’s Smoke

Homeowners should have a vested interest in making sure their heating and cooling systems are maintained properly. U.S fire departments responded to an estimated 45,210 home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction, according to research from the National Fire Protection Association. If your heating system is more than 10 years old, have a professional inspect and clean it. If you have electrical outlets that need replacing, get it done at the same time. Your chimney is another major fire risk, so hiring a chimney sweep before you light the first fire every winter is recommended. The average home insurance fire claim can exceed $30,000.

Maintenance is ongoing but putting a little work or money on the front end means you stand a better chance of avoiding costly repairs down the road. It will also pay off when you want to sell your house. If you keep up with maintenance on your home, you likely won’t have to make a lot of costly repairs before you close the deal. To learn more about your insurance options and to make sure you’re covered, contact us today!