The New Year is a time to think about how you want to refresh, renew and recharge. But it can be more than just dieting and hitting the gym. What about taking a fresh look at one of your biggest investments, your home? Here are five simple steps that can go a long way to protect your home in 2019.
- Know your shut-off valves. Few people know where the emergency shut-off valves are located for gas, water, and electricity. Take a moment and find them, and make sure everyone in your house knows where to find them just in case.
- Check your washer and dryer. Worn out rubber hoses in your washing machine can burst, spilling hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water on the floor. If your rubber hoses are more than just a few years old, swap them out for steel-belted hoses. And over time, lint can build up in your dryer vent and spark a fire. Luckily, a quick trip to the hardware store can reduce your risk of these common causes of fire and water damage.
- Plan ahead and find a friend. If you can’t afford a monitored security system, the next best thing is to give the appearance that someone’s home while you’re away. Install lamp timers, keep a radio turned on and tuned to a talk station, and when you’re on vacation, have a friend shovel your walkway or park their car in your driveway. Above all, keep lower-level windows and garage doors closed and all entrances locked.
- Smoke detection protection. Every home should have at least one smoke detector on each floor and test the batteries twice a year. (Make it easy and do it right before you adjust your clocks in the fall and spring.) Smoke detectors last about 10 years. Each time you get a new one, use a permanent marker to write the month and year on the back.
- Preparing for severe weather. Whether your part of the country is prone to flooding, hurricanes or other natural disasters, look around your home and consider any upgrades or simple maintenance to help minimize damage from wind and water. In tornado-prone areas, a safe room is always a smart addition to protect you and your family from the storm.