Home Maintenance to Keep You Safe

an image of a house with various home maintenance icons

Home maintenance isn’t just an important part of keeping your home looking nice, it’s also key to keeping you and your family safe. Protect your family and your home by regularly performing these home maintenance tasks:

  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. To ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working correctly, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends testing these monthly and replacing the battery yearly. While you’re at it, make sure they’re clear of spider webs and other debris that could hinder optimal function.

  • Check on fire extinguishers. A fire extinguisher can stop a small fire from becoming a big fire – provided it’s in working condition. Your maintenance schedule depends on the type of extinguisher you have, so check the manufacturer’s instructions. Some may need to be shaken monthly to stay in working order, while others need to be pressure tested every few years. You should also regularly inspect the can and hose for damage or rust, and clean the can of dust, oil and grease.

  • Search for water or termite damage. Both water damage and termite infestations can wreak havoc on your home’s structure. Spend time each year taking a thorough look at your house for signs of water damage or termites. You may also wish to contract with a pest control company to perform routine preventive maintenance. The sooner you catch water damage or termites, the sooner you can fix the problem and prevent structural issues.

  • Look for mold. If you find signs of water damage, it’s a good idea to search for signs of mold, too. Mold can impact health in a variety of ways, so it should be removed as soon as possible. Generally, you’ll be tipped off to the presence of mold by a musty, earthy smell, or will be able to see it in moist, dark areas. Even without water damage, you should look for mold in any areas that get moist or humid – especially in places with poor ventilation.

  • Schedule fireplace service. Whether you have a wood-burning or gas fireplace, annual maintenance should be done before you begin regular use during cold months. An annual chimney sweep will help prevent chimney fires due to creosote buildup from your wood-burning fire. If you have a gas fireplace, an annual safety inspection is important to check for any gas leaks and guard against carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Inspect fuel-burning appliances. Another danger for fire and carbon monoxide poisoning can be found in your home heating system and other fuel-burning appliances. Your furnace, range/ oven and water heater all provide the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning if they are poorly maintained or installed improperly.

  • Clean your dryer vent. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year, and failure to clean the dryer is the leading cause. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends cleaning lint from your dryer vent pipe every three months and cleaning your lint filter before and after each load of laundry.

If you’re looking for more tips for maintaining or improving your home, check out Old Republic Title’s blogs on Home Maintenance Tips for Spring and 10 Tips for a More Sustainable Home. If you’re preparing to purchase a home, Old Republic Title can close your real estate transaction and help you protect your investment with title insurance. For more information, contact your local Old Republic Title representative today.