Spring is here, and for most of us, that means a good, thorough deep clean of the house. Since you’re going to be spring cleaning your home anyway, consider setting aside some extra time to double check these spring cleaning tips and possibly avoid filing a claim this year:
1. Check bathroom and kitchen caulk
In the winter, freezing temps can put a lot of stress on the plumbing in your home, causing leaks. While you’ll want to have your plumbing inspected at least once a year, spring is also a good time to go around and check the caulk on sinks, tubs, and showers in the bathroom, as well as in the kitchen. When caulk cracks, it becomes the first place where water can leak out, which can cause some nasty water damage if you don’t get on top of it. Recaulking is easy and as cheap as hitting up your local hardware store for a small tube of replacement caulk. Trust us, it’s way cheaper to recaulk than it is to deal with major water damage.
2. Check wiring
Unfortunately, when it’s cold out, pests like mice help themselves to the warmth of your home. They’ll hide out in the walls and attic of your home to stay alive through the winter. Though you may not have seen them, they can cause some serious damage to your home by chewing through electrical wires in the wall. That’s why it’s a good idea to have an electrician come check out your home’s electrical wiring once a year, to make sure you don’t have a broken, frayed, or chewed through wire that could cause a fire.
3. Clean out dryer lint hose
A true spring cleaning activity, cleaning out the dryer lint hose might not be the most enjoyable task, but it will keep your home safe from fire. Too often, dryer lint hoses become clogged, which backs up the dryer and can start a fire. Clogged dryer hoses are also one of the reasons you have to run a load of laundry through the dryer more than once, so take a few minutes and clean it out this spring.
4. Trim the trees
Winters in Michigan can be pretty harsh, and snow and strong winds often bring down tree limbs or kill trees, making them dangerous to have near the house. If you’ve have any trees that look like they are leaning, diseased or damaged, spring is the time to take them down, before any heavy thunderstorms and straight winds hit. If a tree doesn’t have any leaves or new growth, is less than 500 feet from your roof, or seems to be dangerously close to a power line it may be a good idea to remove it. If you’re not comfortable trimming it on your own, give your local arborist or tree cutting professional a call.
5. Get prepped for spring break
Many families leave on vacation in the spring for a break from the frigid Michigan weather. While it’s always great to get away, be sure you take safety precautions before you leave. Spring break is a target time for burglars and thieves, so you don’t want to give them any reason to think you’re gone for an extended period of time. Refrain from posting about your trip on social media accounts until after you come back, and have a neighbor or friend stop by the house every day to pick up the mail, and park in the driveway for a little bit. It’s also a good idea to consider putting your outdoor lights on a timer while you’re gone, so your home doesn’t look so empty.
6. Clean the gutters
It’s never a fun job, but it is a good idea to clean out your gutters this spring. Over the fall and winter, leaves and other debris can get caught up in the gutters, clogging downspouts and causing water to spill over the edges of gutters and flow down the side of your home. This can cause serious water damage, erode your home’s foundation, and create some unsightly brown water spots on your home’s siding. Avoid major exterior water damage by simply cleaning out the gutters.
7. Change smoke detector batteries
You should test your smoke detectors regularly, and replace batteries when it’s necessary, usually once a year or so. Since you’re going through the home with a fine-toothed comb during your spring cleaning process anyway, it makes sense to just add smoke detectors to your list of spring to-dos. Smoke detectors keep your family safe and alert for potential fires, but they only work if they have functional batteries. It’s a great idea to check with your local fire department to see if they’re running any events this spring, sometimes they hand out batteries for free!
8. Replace weather stripping
Winter weather is hard on windows and doors, especially if you’ve got quality wood frames. Cold weather causes wood to contract and pull away from the wall, which breaks down weather stripping much more quickly. While you’re cleaning the windows and doors, be sure to give the weather stripping a close look to make sure it still has a tight seal keeping wind and water out. Just another simple way to avoid a potential water damage claim.
9. Fix driveway and sidewalks
Constant refreezing can put major cracks and potholes in paved sidewalks and driveways. Even if you have a gravel driveway, snow and ice buildup can cause major ruts which damage your car as you drive over them daily. This spring, fix up those potholes, and get cracks in the sidewalk patched preventing potential trip and fall accidents around your home.
10. Have HVAC system inspected
One final spring cleaning insurance precaution is your HVAC system. It’s been working hard all winter to pump heat through the house, and now it’ll switch over to air conditioning to keep you cool this summer. To make sure everything’s running properly, and there’s no danger of anything overheating or causing a fire, it’s a good idea to have your HVAC system inspected. The added bonus is that if you get your system inspected now, you’ll have time to fix any minor issues before summer hits and you really need that AC.
Spring cleaning always leaves your home with a fresh, new feeling, and makes it easy to get excited for the warmer months. We hope this list of tips helps you make sure your home is safe and secure after the cold winter, but if you do come across any claims while you’re spring cleaning, know that Doyle & Ogden can help! Trusted West Michigan insurance advisors, we’re here to help our clients find better insurance coverage for the right price. If you’re interested in finding a better insurance policy, give our office a call at 616-949-9000 or request a free insurance quote online today!