Even though summer technically doesn’t start for a couple more weeks, many of us already have summer activities and vacations planned. Before you schedule your summer retreat, follow the safety tips below prepare your home for the season.
A well-maintained home, safe from hazards, will help prevent any accidents by you, your family, or your guests. The last thing you want to deal with over the summer is a lawsuit from a neighbor that got hurt due to some easily preventable condition. Here are a few easy summer home improvement projects to keep your home safe and energy efficient:
1. Clear the gutters. Rain and wind can cause leaves, sticks, and other debris to settle into your gutters. Clogged gutters can lead to roof and foundation leaks, rotted framing, and mold. Clearing the gutters isn’t glamorous, but it’s necessary to prevent major defects.
2. Trim and prune. Now that we have daylight well past 8 p.m. it’s prime time for gardening and landscaping. Pull weeds from landscaped areas. Prune shrubs and trees that may risk damaging your home’s exterior. If you’ve been considering creating a drought-resistant front yard, now is the time!
3. Become more energy efficient. Simple changes can make a big difference on summer energy bills. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. Use blackout shades, which help insulate windows and block out sunlight. Clean out excess lint from the dryer vent. Not only will it make your dryer more energy efficient, it will also make it more fire-safe.
4. Grill safely. Before you invite over friends for a backyard barbeque, check your gas grill for leaks and other defects. When making your famous ribs, keep the grill away from your house or any flammable objects and monitor the grill at all times. Store charcoal grills outside. Charcoal emits carbon monoxide until it’s completely extinguished.
5. Check your emergency equipment and security system. Test all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries as needed. Make sure your kitchen and every floor in your home has a fire extinguisher. If you don’t have an earthquake kit, prepare one now.
6. Check your insurance policy. Most homeowners insurance policies have some type of liability coverage. Liability coverage may help pay for medical bills if your neighbor does get injured on your property. If the injury happens because of your negligence (like failing to fix a broken step or clean up a water spill) you may get stuck footing the bill, even if the neighbor has health insurance. Liability coverage may also protect you when you’re away from home. If you accidentally cause damage to property while on vacation, your homeowners insurance policy may help cover the damage.
Photo courtesy of Chris Cowan, Flickr