In our last edition, we discussed things that you can check on the exterior of your home this Spring with a view to loss prevention. If you missed that post, you can find it here. In today’s edition, we begin the first of two discussions about the interior of your home. We encourage you to make this a family friendly activity that involves everyone residing in the home. Without further adieu, let’s begin.
Inside your home (Part 1)
Check and test your smoke alarms and CO Detectors
Life safety devices should be tested once per month. Batteries should be changed when the time changes in Spring & Fall and the units replaced every 7-10 years. Check the manufacturers’ guidelines. In single family dwellings, smoke alarms and CO detectors are required on every floor of the home, including basement areas. The detectors themselves need some regular maintenance. They can be vacuumed with a gentle brush attachment and the housing wiped down with a damp cloth.
Inspect your multi-purpose fire extinguisher
A fire extinguisher is not required by Code in a single-family home but we encourage you to consider having one as cooking fires are still common. If you are going to have one, we recommend that it be at least a 5 lb unit. The extinguisher should be located in a conspicuous location where all occupants of the home know where it is. A quick visual inspection monthly will ensure it is ready to use when needed. This would include looking at the fill gauge to ensure it is not discharged or overcharged. Inspect the hose for kinks, cracks, punctures or tears. Ensure that the pin is securely in place. Look at the extinguisher for signs of rust, bulges, dents or other irregularities. That’s all there is to it!
Inspect the hoses, taps and connections to the washing machine and dishwasher
A common cause of water damage claims is hose lines that burst or fail on connections to the washing machine or dishwasher. Completing a quick visual inspection of these hoses can identify cracks, damage, and other issues before they become a claim. We recommend that you consider replacing any neoprene or similar hoses with stainless steel braided hoses as these are far more durable over time.
Many of these appliance hoses have screen mesh filters at one or both ends; and newer washing machines have filters at the appliance to prevent solids entering through the hoses. Over time, these can become clogged, especially if you have hard water. You can check these filters by shutting off the water supply to the appliance and then disconnecting the hose at each end to clean the filters.
Replace or clean the filters in your furnace and HRV
After a winter of hard work, filters in the furnace and HRV are likely dirty and in need of cleaning or replacement. Not only does this increase air flow through the central ductwork, but also improves the quality of the air circulating in the home. It also significantly increases the lifespan of the appliances.
Clean out the dryer exhaust ducts
Once a year it is recommended that you disconnect the dryer ducting and clean it out, including the point where it leaves the home. Warm dryer air hitting cold outside air can cause lint to condense there just as moisture does in that situation, meaning there is likely to be more buildup at the point where the duct exhausts to the exterior. We strongly recommend metallic dryer ducting versus the plastic/vinyl ducting. The metallic ducting is better equipped to contain a fire if lint ignites.
Have a look at your hot water tank
Another leading cause of water damage claims is the sudden and unexpected failure of the hot water tank. Have a quick look along the bottom and sides/seams of your appliance for signs of rust or leakage that would indicate a problem developing. We encourage you to consider installing a drip tray underneath the tank, and replacing the hot water tank every ten years.
Stay tuned for our next installment, which will be a continuation of this checklist. In that post, we will be covering sump pumps, temporary wiring, and possible hidden dangers in the attic among other things. As always, if you have questions about loss prevention, our team is available to help. You can reach out to us virtually by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org