We created our seasonal checklists to help you stay on track each season. Using them can help you avoid common (and costly) risks at your properties such as injuries caused by unstable decks and damage caused by dead trees. If you haven’t already, be sure to change those smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector batteries.
INSPECT THE ROOF, SOFFITS, AND FASCIA BOARDS.
Using binoculars is a safe alternative to climbing a ladder. Check for damage to shingles, nail pops and wood rot.
CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS!
Improperly channeled water can compromise the structural integrity of your property, including the foundation and sheetrock inside. Water damage can quickly lead to mold growth, which is a health hazard.
CLEAN UP THE YARD.
Prune bushes, and trim trees and climbing plants. Thinning dead or overgrown tree branches can prevent catastrophic roof damage in the event of a storm. Don’t let weeds, ivy or other plants’ roots exploit your foundation or siding. Remove debris from your yard; properties with well‐kept lawns are less inviting to thieves and vandals.
REPAIR CRACKED, BROKEN OR UNEVEN DRIVEWAYS, WALKWAYS, AND STAIRS.
The expansion and contraction caused by freezing and thawing can lead to significant damage to exterior walkways. If kept unchecked, these hazards can cause slips and falls.
PREVENT BUGS AND RODENTS FROM ENTERING YOUR PROPERTY.
Seal or caulk cracks, gaps or holes near baseboards, windows and doors. Cable, plumbing and electric service entry points should also have a tight seal. Any hole the size of a dime or larger may allow rodents to squeeze through.
WINTERIZE ALL WATER SYSTEMS.
Drain, disconnect and store garden hoses. Install a faucet cover to help prevent outdoor faucets from freezing. Drain your sprinkler system and swimming pool pump. Turn off the water and fully drain the plumbing systems of any vacant properties!
INSPECT YOUR SMOKE & CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS; ONE SHOULD BE INSTALLED ON EACH FLOOR.
Test alarms monthly. Change the batteries twice a year or more frequently as needed. Ensure tenants do not disconnect or remove the alarms.
MAKE SURE YOUR MULTIPURPOSE FIRE EXTINGUISHER IS FULL & PROPERLY PRESSURIZED.
Store the extinguisher in an accessible location and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for routine maintenance.
GIVE YOUR FURNACE A TUNE-UP.
HVAC systems should be checked at least twice a year—before winter or summer arrive. Have the ducts professionally cleaned to prevent fires resulting from dust buildup. Change furnace filters on a monthly basis.
HAVE YOUR CHIMNEY PROFESSIONALLY CLEANED AND INSPECTED.
A $300 inspection will cost much less than an insurance deductible in the event of a fire. A professional can repair any cracks, remove soot and other buildup, and make sure the flue and gas lines are in good condition.
About the Author
BreAnn Stephenson is the resident Loss Prevention expert at National Real Estate Insurance Group. BreAnn brings over 15 years of insurance and client/customer service experience to the team.