By Sylvie Forget-Swim 1

As an insurance broker, I try and help clients minimize their chance of suffering a loss as much as possible. Insurance is changing, weather patterns are changing and city infrastructure is aging, as a result homeowners need to be vigilant with the maintenance of their home. The goal is to minimize the potential of frequent minor claims and to reduce the severity of larger ones.

Before the warmer weather leads you out into the yard, it’s always smart to start the season with a routine checkup on everything INDOORS and OUT.

Keep Your Cool

Whether you have a central air system or window units make sure hoses and/or filters are clean and clear. Have a professional inspect your central AC unit before the first heat wave.

Assess the Attic

Inspect the space for any signs of black or gray mold stains that could have developed during the damp winter. A professional can help you determine if better ventilation or insulation is required.

Block the Breeze

Look at reinforcing weather stripping and caulking to lock in comfortable interior temperatures and reduce summer cooling bills.

Look at your Laundry

Damp clothes could be a sign of a clogged dryer vent, a serious fire hazard, be sure to clean them out.

Protect your Pipes and all things Water

Check all sinks, toilets and tubs for loose connections, leaky faucets, clogged drains and sweaty pipes. Check your water heater for leaks or corrosion. Look for wetness around your dishwasher and check your washing machine hoses for cracks, bulges or dampness. Check your sump pump to make sure that it is working efficiently. You should have a backup sump pump along with a backup generator in case of a power failure.

Inspect Outlets

Check all electrical outlets for loose fitting plugs or frayed wiring. Be wary of the use of extension cords. These can be fire hazards.1

Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

From the INSIDE OUT, the bright sun and warm winds spotlight your leaf filled gutters, cracked sidewalks and damaged roof.

Check your Gutters

Make sure that all debris from fall and winter are not clogging the whole gutter system. Check for loose or leaky gutters. Improper drainage can lead to water in the basement or crawl space. Make sure that downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear and free of debris.

Check your Roo1f

From the ground examine roof shingles to see if any are missing or damaged. Shingles that are cracked, buckled or loose need to be replaced. Check flashing around the chimney, plumbing vents and in valleys where roofing sections meet.

Exterior Walls

Look for trouble spots under eaves and near gutter downspouts, whether you have wood siding, stucco or brick. Water stains can indicate that your gutters are not adequately containing roof runoff.

Foundations

Inspect your foundation from top to bottom for masonry cracks. Foundation specialists should be used to ensure that cracks are properly bonded.

Repair Walkways

Check all walkways and your driveway to make sure the pavement is even so that nobody gets hurt. Grading should be away from the foundation.

Check Landscaping next to the foundation

Spring rain can cause yard flooding, which can lead to foundation flooding and damage ensure to slope the ground away from the foundation. Regular maintenance is key of course. Ask for help and advice from contractors and tradesmen themselves. Remember, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Sylvie Forget-Swim is a partner with Assurances Palladium Insurance.