Spring safety check for home and garden
It’s spring. For many, it’s the start of outdoor projects involving lawns, gardens and home exteriors.
Spring projects also provide a good time to inspect in and around your home for wear and tear and safety hazards that could leave your family and guests vulnerable to injury.
“Homeowners have a responsibility to repair and maintain their homes,” said Karl Newman, president of the Washington Insurance Council. “And preventative maintenance is an important investment in protecting one of your largest assets - your home.”
Homeowners insurance is designed to protect you from catastrophic losses such as fire, windstorm, theft or broken water pipes. It is not intended to cover losses from inadequate maintenance such as water damage from gradual leaks in the roof, siding or windows.
Washington Insurance Council, the Institute for Business & Home
Safety, and other safety-focused agencies offer the
following tips to help you with home exterior maintenance
and reducing safety hazards.
•Check and clean gutters in spring and fall.
•Check your roof for worn, curled or missing shingles and replace them immediately.
•Repair or replace loose or damaged siding.
•Examine soffit boards (horizontal surfaces under eaves).
•Make sure downspouts slope away from the home and carry water at least five feet from the foundation walls.
•Have a professional inspect your air conditioning system.
•Make sure sprinkler heads are aimed away from the house to prevent water build-up near foundation walls.
•Remove clutter from storage areas to reduce fire hazards.
•Examine decks, porches and balconies for weak or broken railings and posts. Railings should be spaced no more than four inches apart to prevent children from sliding through.
•Caulk and reseal worn window and door flashing, seals or weather stripping.
•Check your attic for surface discoloration from water stains.
•Check to make sure fire extinguishers in your kitchen and garage work properly.
•Outfit electrical outlets located near water sources with ground-fault circuit interrupters.
•Be sure exterior walls are well painted and sealed.
•Inspect your lawn for rocks or other objects that accidentally could be launched from your lawnmower.
To order WIC’s free publications Maintenance Guide for your Home and Protecting Your Home from Water Damage call the Washington Insurance Council at 800/664-4942 or visit www.wiconline.org to download PDF format.