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Home is a place where you should feel comfortable and secure. In order to have that peace of mind, you should be inspecting your home at least annually, to make sure it is meeting safety standards, getting repairs and replacements as needed.
A home safety checkup is a great way to be sure your house is in great shape. However, you must know what to look for first. To help, here’s a list of what you must inspect during your home safety checkup.
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What Is A Home Safety Check Up
It's likely that you already have your home maintenance routines such as spring cleaning and exterior care. However, incorporating some basic safety checks into these routines annually can make for more effective and potentially disaster-reducing changes.
“A home safety checkup is just like your annual checkup with your doctor,” Matt Kaulig, owner and CEO of LeafFilter North, LLC., said. “It presents you with the opportunity to correct problems early or prevent them altogether. So, don’t just skip the home safety checkup. It’s essential to maintain the integrity of your home.”
When getting ready to conduct a home safety checkup, it’s best to have a list on hand of what you’ll need to inspect both indoors and out. Here’s a checklist to make it easier.
- Electrical Outlets
- HVAC Mechanics & Ducts
- Smoke Detectors
- Carbon Monoxide Detectors
- Fire Extinguisher
An electrical problem, both interior
You should also look at the condition of the outlets. Are they discolored? Do you hear any noises? This also means you might have a problem with your electricity and a pro should be called immediately.
Of course, not all electrical hazards require an electrician to be fixed. Check for cords and wires that run across rooms, under rugs or in any areas that could be a hazard for others. Move these wires or secure them in a way that they won’t be touched.
While you may not think of indoor air quality as a home hazard, it's certainly a concern. For those with asthma and allergies, a faulty HVAC system can cause health problems. Inspect your ducts and vents for dust, cleaning where necessary. You’ll also want to clean any dust or build
Test your HVAC by turning it on and listening for any noises that seem odd. If you have a home that has gas heating, inspect that as well. If you see any abnormalities, be sure to contact an HVAC pro for a repair.
3. Disaster Prevention Devices
One of the best forms of disaster prevention in your home is detectors. Both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are a must in the home. The National Fire Protection Association recommends including an alarm inside each bedroom, as well as one on every level of the home. You should check your batteries twice a year. A great way to remember to do this is to test your detectors when the time changes, both in the spring and fall. Change batteries as soon as it’s needed.
4. Foundation & Masonry
If you’ve been the victim of an interior leak before, you know the key to prevention starts with your foundation. Twice a year, inspect your foundation and brickwork for new cracks and loose bricks. Masonry damage can go from a small damage to a large crack very quickly, letting in water, insects and more. These should be repaired as soon as possible by a masonry pro.
Your home safety checkup is not limited to just the interior. You’ll want to take a look up for more areas to inspect.
“A home safety checkup should be performed top to bottom, but focus on places you don’t typically notice on a day-to-day basis,” Kaulig said. “Most of us tend to look down to enjoy our landscaping or see where we’re walking, so that means for your home safety checkup, you’ll probably want to look up at those out of sight, out of mind areas. Pay special attention to your gutters and roofline. This is where things can go wrong, and most homeowners won’t even realize it because they’re not used to looking up there.”
When inspecting your roof, pay particular attention to any loose or missing shingles. Just one missing shingle can leave your home exposed to the elements. You’ll also want to take a look at the quality of your roof. While roofs have a long life, some lasting as long as 20 years, you may be getting close to the time when you’ll need to replace your roof. Worn and damaged shingles can be a sign of this. The average cost to install or replace a roof is $6,574, with most homeowners spending between $5,514 and $7,398.
While you’re examining your roofing, take a look at your gutters as well. While most homeowners are aware they must clean their gutters seasonally, they might not understand the damage that an undermaintained gutter can have on a home.
“We always say your gutters impact all,” Kaulig said. “Clogged or damaged gutters can cause a ripple effect of damages throughout your home and yard, sometimes leading to costly and severe damages. For example, you may find your clogged gutters have overflowed, causing water damage under your roof, and perhaps even allowing mold to grow in these now unusually moist areas. This can be dangerous for you, and your family’s health.
Kaulig suggests cleaning your gutters at least two to three times a year. In addition, he says you’ll want to inspect your gutter system top to bottom, paying special attention to the downspout and seams. If you see anything irregular, contact a gutter pro.
The good news is that you don’t need to do all these tasks at once. In fact, I encourage you to work them into your home maintenance routines. Prevention is the key to stopping a home disaster before it starts and with a safety checkup, you’ll be doing just that!
Looking for more tips to have a healthy & safe home? Read Home Maintenance Checklist.