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(StatePoint) Fall is the perfect time to complete those pesky home maintenance projects left on your to do list. If you’ve been putting off these chores, you’re not alone, but it could cost you. In fact, a national survey from Erie Insurance shows many Americans are putting themselves and their homes at financial risk by delaying important home maintenance tasks.
Make sure you’re protected by focusing on these five areas:
• The Roof. Twenty-three percent of homeowners admit they never inspect their roof or have it inspected unless there is a problem, according to the Erie Insurance survey. Unfortunately, replacing a roof is also one of the biggest expenses a homeowner may have if not maintained properly. Nationally, the average homeowner spends about $6,600 to install a new roof, but prices can soar upwards of $20,000.
Don’t be stuck with a hefty roof repair bill. Have it inspected to see if any shingles are damaged and need to be replaced. The fall season is the optimal time to do so, since roofing is best installed when temperatures are cooler. Plus, you’ll catch any problems before winter weather kicks in.
• The Gutters. Make sure downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear of debris. Clogged gutters can lead to major issues like uneven floors, cracks in walls and interior water damage. This type of claim, also known as seepage, is a maintenance issue and often not covered under your home insurance policy. To prevent any major issues, clean gutters at least twice a year in fall and spring.
• The Dryer Exhaust Duct. Does it take you two to three cycles to dry a load of laundry? If so, you may need to clean your dryer vent. One in five (21 percent) admit they never clean their clothes dryer ducts, unless they have a problem. But lint build-up can catch fire easily. Over 15,000 dryer fires occurred nationwide from 2010-2014, with the majority being ignited by dust, fiber and lint, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Avoid this disaster with a thorough cleaning at least once a year.
• The Fireplace Chimney. Erie Insurance found nearly half (46 percent) of people who own a home with a fireplace never have their chimneys cleaned. However, uncleaned chimneys are a leading cause of structure fires, reports the National Fire Protection Association. So, get the chimney cleaned before the cold weather hits and you find yourself tossing logs in the hearth to keep the house toasty, and then have it cleaned annually.
• The Sump Pump and Pit. Sump pumps remove excess water from homes that would otherwise cause property damage. It’s important to clean a sump pump and its pit annually to keep basements dry and help prevent mold growth and water damage. Do this maintenance project in fall to help protect against heavy rainfalls and accumulated melting snow and ice of winter.
For more information on how you can protect your home through the seasons, visit www.ErieInsurance.com.
Now that you have your checklist, it’s time to roll up your sleeves while it’s still nice outside. Whether you’re a DIYer or prefer hiring a professional, crossing these projects off your to-do list will help ensure you’re safe and secure before temperatures drop.
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