Spring Home Maintenance Tips
- Have your Chimney Inspected and Cleaned
Avoid chimney fires by making sure your flue is free of creosote by having your chimney inspected and cleaned if need once a year, preferably in late spring or early summer when heating season is over. This allows for time to complete any repairs before the heating season begins in the fall.
- Clean your dryer vent
Often lint will clog dryer vents that are too long or kinked. In some cases this can even lead to fires. To solve the problem dryer vents should be kept as short as possible and cleaned at least once a year.
- Clean your air filters and vents
Filters in you furnace should be checked once a month and replaced or cleaned as needed. Some filters are reusable and are supposed to be taken out, washed with a hose and re-inserted. A dirty filter can lower the efficiency of the heating/cooling system, increase heating costs and cause fires. Also make sure your registers are clean and unobstructed as this will ensure effective air circulation as we move into the warmer spring and summer months.
- Replace your storm windows with screens and check that all of your windows are in working order
- Clean the kitchen exhaust hood and air filter.
Keeping this clean of cooking grease will help keep a stovetop fire from spreading.
- Check your electrical system
- Look for burn marks at the main electrical panel; they can be a sign of arcing inside the panel, which can easily lead to a fire. Loose connections or damaged insulation can cause the arcing. Note: Only a qualified electrician should remove the front panel cover.
- Trip and reset the circuit breakers regularly.
Remove any combustible materials such as paper boxes or flammable liquids from the area near the main electrical panel. Sparks caused by arcing inside the panel can ignite material stored nearby.
- Check all electrical outlets for loose-fitting plugs they are an indication of a worn out receptacle. Worn receptacles should be replaced as they cause overheating and fires. Also check electrical outlets and switches to be sure they work properly. If any switches, outlets or receptacles do not work, have a qualified electrician determine the problem and fix it to avoid fires inside the walls of your home.
- Install safety covers to help protect children from electrical shock. Any appliance or tool that gives even the slightest shock should be unplugged and checked by an electrician or repair shop.
- Always have a multi-purpose fire extinguisher accessible
Make sure it is Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listed or Factory Mutual (FM) approved. Check the gauges to make sure they are charged and ready to use.
- Make sure the light bulbs in all your fixtures are the correct wattage
The light fixture manufacturer recommends the correct wattage. If too high a wattage bulb is used in a light fixture, heat produced inside the fixture can lead to fire inside the fixture, ceiling or wall.
- Have a professional air conditioning contractor inspect and maintain your system as recommended by the manufacturer. Maintenance should include:
- Cleaning the evaporator coil
- Lubricating fans and motors
- Tightening or changing the belts
- Checking electrical safeties
- Checking the drain pan for leaks
- Testing the capacitors
- Check the condensate drain
- Test the crankcase heater
- Calibrating the thermostat
- Visually checking the wiring for potential short circuits
- These steps can help decrease the chance of fire, save money by making the system run more efficiently and help prevent breakdowns.
- Check for damage to your roof
Signs include missing, curling, cupping, broken or cracked shingles. Pooling or ponds of water that fail to drain from flat roofs may indicate low areas and inadequate drainage.
- Repair all cracked, broken or uneven driveways and walks to help provide a level walking surface
This will help prevent guests and family members from slipping, tripping or falling.
- Check all the fascia and trim for deterioration and rot
These areas can become weathered and worn and may lead to potential water damage.
- Inspect and clean dust from the covers of your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms