You can smell the pumpkin spiced lattes in the air. Autumn has arrived in British Columbia, and all over the province homeowners find themselves raking fallen leaves from the lawn, but is that enough to prepare and maintain your property for the season? Certainly not.
While this time of the year brings about a bounty of natural beauty and crisp morning air, it also comes with a new set of concerns that can impact the health of your home. With the first week of fall in the books and the warm temperatures of summer fading, Park Insurance is here with a “to do” list that will give you peace of mind and help keep your household and home claims free.
5 Things You Need to do to Prepare Your House and Property for Autumn
1. Rake the Roof
Leaves and debris don’t just fall on the lawn. They collect on your roof and in your rain gutters too. This will impact the condition of your roof, and will weigh heavy on your gutters and downspouts, resulting in clogs that can cause rainwater to overflow and fractures along the length of the system. Begin a weekly regime that includes a full inspection of your gutters, downspouts, and shingles. Keep them clean and clear, and inspect for damage.
Gutter damage to look for includes cracks, loose screws/brackets, and wear and tear at the fascia board. Once clean, run a stream of water through the system to see if water is escaping anywhere aside from the base of the downspout. Once complete, step back and walk the perimeter of your property, noting any sections where your gutters may be sagging. Attend to any damage right away with the necessary repairs or replacement. The cost of doing so can pale in comparison to what exterior and interior water damage can cost you. The same applies to your shingles. Loose shingles need to be repaired/replaced right away.
To help perform the above maintenance, consider investing in a roof rake that will help keep the surface clear of debris, without having to risk personal injury while standing atop a ladder.
2. Block Entry from Hibernating Pests
During the autumn all of the rodents and critters in your community look to hunker down for the season, looking for a cozy place to nest until spring returns. While that may paint a cute Disney-esque picture for some, it isn’t. These pests (mice, squirrels, rats, and raccoons) can significantly damage your home’s exterior and interior, and even impact the health of occupants – you and your family.
Protecting your home begins on the property exterior. For starters, mend broken fences to keep bigger pests at bay (raccoons, etc.) and inspect bushes for outdoor nests and have them ethically removed. When the cold strikes furry residents will leave their outdoor lair and head for yours. With the landscape in the clear you must now divert your attention to the base of your home. Look for and attend to cracks around basement windows, partially (or full) burrowed holes near the foundation, and any potential entry point that makes it easy for critters to enter. Once complete, head indoors and have a good look from within. This includes inspection and repair on the interior of basement and main-floor windows, doors, and floorboards. Make sure wooden trim is properly nailed in or glued shut and that caulking is reapplied where needed.
3. Winterize Your Pipes, in the Autumn
It’s not too early to winterize your pipes. Doing so is one of the easiest yet most effective ways to protect your home from an autumn season that exhibits winter climate tendencies. Inspect pipes for leaks, cracks and fractures and have them repaired before cold late-autumn temperatures cause them to worsen. With that out of the way, visit your local home and garden store for fitted pipe insulation. If your budget doesn’t have room to outfit every pipe, prioritize the ones that are the most likely to freeze (the ones closest to the exterior). In addition, shut off the water for any faucet (i.e. basement or guest bathroom sink, etc.) that you do not commonly use, which will not only hedge risk regarding pipes, it will have a positive impact on your overall water damage prevention plan.
4. Protect Your Home from the Increased Break-in Threat
The passing of the autumn equinox equates shorter days. This loss of natural light can leave your home exposed to the threat of burglars, especially when you don’t arrive home from work until after dark, or if you have fall season vacation plans. Take precautions that include installing dead-bolts on the doors and windows of your home and garage, mounting motion detecting exterior lights, and setting automatic timers for lights and home electronics such as the TV or stereo. View more on how to protect your home from break-ins, all year long.
It should be noted that for all of your preparedness, break-ins can happen, so be sure to keep an up-to-date inventory of your household possessions, using one of these helpful online tools.
5. Assess Your Homeowners Insurance Policy
With autumn increasing the risk of impediment to your home, it’s a good time to ask key questions about your policy. Find out if you have standard, broad, or comprehensive coverage, as only the latter will provide everything you need to keep your property free from claim concerns. However, your best bet is to have an independent insurance broker provide an unbiased assessment of your current homeowners insurance policy, only then can you find the peace of mind that your are protected from all that can befall you during the fall season. Contact Park Insurance today.