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5 Summer Projects to Prevent Damage to Your Home

Summertime often holds many glorious days and long evenings that allow homeowners to do a few special projects that can help prevent major damage for years to come. Even rainy Saturdays offer the chance to tackle indoor needs. Here are five suggestions that could help you avoid financial losses and a lot of inconvenience.

1. Check and fix the grading around your home’s foundation or slab.

Over time, leaky gutters, dripping spigots and heavy rainfall can couple with changes in ground temperature to compress the soil around your home’s slab or foundation. That can lead to cracks in your walls and floors as well as shifting of the supporting soil. While professionals generally recommend grading soil at a one-inch decline over every 10 feet away from the house, you may wish to check with a professional for your best slope. Remember to fill holes – even little ones – and tamp the soil down firmly. Typically a silt/clay mixture is appropriate so it will compact and not rinse away, but you can ask at your local professionals about what’s best for your particular geography. Planting grass will help prevent erosion.

2. Remove flammable hazards.

Over the course of a year, hazardous materials can pile up in sheds, garages and basements. Since many of these substances – such as paints, sealants, glues, batteries and rags used for oiling – shouldn’t be thrown in the trash can, your locality may require you to drive them to the dump for proper disposal. Leaving them to pile up creates a fire hazard as well as other potential liability. It’s best to dispose of such items regularly.

3. Check for insect or rodent damage.

Pests are a year-round issue and can do a lot of damage to a home, damage that usually isn’t covered by insurance. A keen inspection of your attic, garage, shed and basement can help you identify holes, nests, detritus (often seen as black specs or white stains), mud-like tunnels, and shavings/sawdust caused by vermin and insects. Patch any holes, even tiny gaps, to prevent further invasion as well as water incursion. You may need to put down traps or even hire a professional if you have an infestation.

4. Repair leaky spigots and faucets.

As you run the sprinkler or fill the wading pool, check for drips at the hose connections, and make sure spigots and valves are working properly inside and out. This is also a good practice for all toilets, sinks, showers and appliances since a reasonable search can reveal a problem before water damage is seen on walls, cabinets, floors and foundations. That little drip you have gotten used to could be the long-term cause of a serious financial loss.

5. Clean the chimney and fireplace.

The warm summer months are an optimal time to get the creosote and other debris out of your chimney. It’s worth the time to clear any leftover ash from the fireplace, which can harbor bugs, and check the chimney cap for debris that may have blown in or been tucked there by birds or squirrels. You should also clean your dryer’s and fans’ exhausts to help prevent potential lint, dust or grease fires.

With a little dedication on a few weekends or evenings this summer, you can make your home a safer place to live.

Westfield can help

Good home insurance is an excellent way to add a layer of protection beyond the good care you keep of your house. If you would like a review of your current coverage or to explore the homeowners insurance Westfield offers, please contact an agent near you.