This page will be regularly updated with tips and advice for homeowners.
Inspect Roof Once a Year
Roofs are the most commonly damaged part of a home during severe weather. Homeowners should inspect their roofs at least once a year and following big storms. Looking at the underside of a roof from the attic is the best way to detect leaks before they damage the living area of a home. You can inspect a roof from the ground with binoculars. Look for damaged or missing shingles and replace them immediately to avoid further damage. Dimples in the roof can be indications of hail damage. You also want to inspect flashing around roof penetrations like bathroom vents and chimneys. These places are the most common locations for leaks. It is also helpful to know when your roof was last replaced. The average lifespan for three-tab asphalt shingles is about 20 years and 30 years for architectural shingles.
Clean Gutters Regularly
Gutters are critical to diverting water away from the foundation of a home. Water is the most destructive thing to a home so it is important to keep it from entering the house. Clogged gutters may seem like a minor inconvenience, but they can lead to major damage to a home if left unchecked. Gutters should be inspected at least twice a year (once in the spring and once in the fall), however depending on how close trees are to the house they may need to be inspected and cleaned out more often.
Vegetation Near House
Many homes have decorative landscaping around the perimeter. While this adds curb appeal to the home, if left unmaintained vegetation around a home can be destructive. Small trees that take root near the foundation should be removed before they get too big and cause cracks in the foundation. Climbing vines can work their way underneath siding and should not be allowed to climb the sides of houses. All vegetation should be cut back at least one foot from your home.
Drain Hot Water Tank Annually
Sediment builds up in the bottom of hot water tanks and can cause corrosion which will reduce the life of the tank. Partially draining the tank once a year can remove the sediment and help it run longer and more efficiently.
Keep Dryer Vent Clear of Lint and Debris
It is recommended to keep the clothes dryer vent free of lint and debris. Faulty or clogged dryer vents can cause a fire. It is common to find a screen installed on dryer exhaust hoods, which makes it prone to clogging and poses a fire hazard. This is a defective installation and is not allowed by standards. Instead of a screen the dryer vent termination should be equipped with a damper.
Regularly Test GFCI Receptacles
GFCI (Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter) receptacles should be tested regularly to ensure they are working. GFCI receptacles are important safety devices that can help prevent electrical shocks and fires. GFCI outlets should be checked at least every three months by pressing the “test” button. If the outlet does not trip when pressing the “test” button it should be replaced. If the outlet does trip but doesn’t reset it should also be replaced. A malfunctioning GFCI could also mean the breaker has tripped, so that should be checked first if the outlet is not working. There are also self-testing GFCI receptacles that have an LED light that lets you know if it is working properly. A green light indicates it is working and a red light means it needs replaced.