Many people go into a New Year, setting goals and making promises to improve specific areas of their lives, such as their health or finances. They resolve to eat healthier, exercise more, and budget better. This time of year is also ideal for committing to maintaining the place where you spend a significant amount of time. The following maintenance tasks can help prevent hazardous situations and ensure life-saving equipment functions in a fire. Equally essential is reviewing your home insurance policy with an independent insurance agent.
Clean Your Gutters
The gutter system consists of several components – gutters, downspouts, elbows, and brackets – that work together to protect your roof, siding, and foundation from water damage by catching and diverting water away from the property. As part of a routine maintenance schedule, these should be cleaned at the beginning of the spring and fall seasons to prevent debris from building up, protecting your home from costly repairs. Regular maintenance will also prevent pests from finding clogged gutters an attractive place to make a nest. Whether you go the DIY route or hire a professional, you should also check the system for damage, sags, or rust and make necessary repairs.
Clean Your Dryer Vent
According to the United States Fire Administration, 2,900 home dryer fires are reported each year, with January the peak month for these types of incidents. Because failure to clean this appliance is the leading cause, the agency recommends having it regularly cleaned by a professional, particularly if it’s taking longer than usual for clothes to dry. You can further reduce risk by cleaning the lint filter before and after each load – never use the dryer without this, avoiding overloading the dryer, turning it off before leaving home or going to bed, and cleaning the lint out of the vent pipe every three months.
Test Your Smoke Alarms
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire departments responded to more than 24,000 home fires per year between 2014 and 2018 in which smoke alarms failed to operate. Battery problems were the most common reason for the alarms’ failure to sound. A missing or disconnected battery accounted for 41%, and a dead or discharged battery accounted for 26% of the fires. The NFPA advises testing smoke alarms every 30 days by pressing the “test” button on each unit, replacing the battery once per year, and installing new alarms every ten years. They should be installed inside and outside each bedroom in addition to on every level of your home.
Don’t Neglect CO Detectors
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that about one-third of Arizona households use natural gas as their primary heating fuel. If you use any fuels to heat your home or cook your meals, then you should have carbon monoxide detectors installed outside each bedroom and on every floor, which are designed to detect traces of this odorless gas. You should also install these in your home if you park or run a generator in an attached garage (NFPA). Like smoke alarms, CO detectors must be regularly tested, with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommending weekly testing and annual battery changes.
Restock Your Home First Aid Kit
The importance of having a fully stocked First Aid Kit cannot be overstated. These should be in every home and vehicle to treat minor injuries such as burns and scrapes. The best kits are fully stocked with everything you’d need, from gloves to dressings, and checked and replenished every few months. You can buy a prepared kit online, adding anything that may be missing, or create one from scratch. Whatever your choice, make sure there are plenty of supplies for each member of your family. Of course, if an accident leads to more serious injuries, you should seek medical attention.
Review Your Home Insurance Policy
Hegarty-Haynes Insurance understands the importance of providing superior quality insurance solutions and has dedicated our resources to helping Arizonans find excellent home insurance coverage at affordable prices. Our commitment to ongoing support and responsiveness backed by years of experience sets our agency apart from the rest.
We invite you to contact Hegarty-Haynes Insurance to discuss receiving a complimentary quote with one of our independent insurance agents today at (480) 820-2297. We look forward to helping you find the best auto, business, home, or life insurance policy for your specific needs.
Ahrens, Marty. “Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires.” National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), February 2021.
“Arizona State Profile and Energy Estimates: Profile Analysis.” U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), March 18, 2021.
“Clothes Dryer Fire Safety Outreach Materials.” U.S. Fire Administration.
“How to Clean Gutters.” The Home Depot.
“Public Education: Smoke Alarms.” National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
“Top U.S. New Year’s Resolutions for 2022.” Statista Global Consumer Survey conducted November 2 – 11, 2021, published January 11, 2022.
“Types of Gutters.” The Home Depot.