Five main­te­nance projects to tackle this fall

The Enterprise - - Real Estate - • The roof. • The gut­ters. • The fire­place chim­ney. StatePoint

Fall is the per­fect time to com­plete those pesky home main­te­nance projects left on your to do list. If you’ve been putting off these chores, you’re not alone, but it could cost you. In fact, a na­tional sur­vey from Erie In­sur­ance shows many Amer­i­cans are putting them­selves and their homes at fi­nan­cial risk by de­lay­ing im­por­tant home main­te­nance tasks.

Make sure you’re pro­tected by fo­cus­ing on these five ar­eas:

Twenty-three per­cent of home­own­ers ad­mit they never in­spect their roof or have it in­spected un­less there is a prob­lem, ac­cord­ing to the Erie In­sur­ance sur­vey. Un­for­tu­nately, re­plac­ing a roof is also one of the big­gest ex­penses a home­owner may have if not main­tained prop­erly. Na­tion­ally, the av­er­age home­owner spends about $6,600 to in­stall a new roof, but prices can soar up­wards of $20,000.

Don’t be stuck with a hefty roof re­pair bill. Have it in­spected to see if any shin­gles are dam­aged and need to be re­placed. The fall sea­son is the op­ti­mal time to do so, since roof­ing is best in­stalled when tem­per­a­tures are cooler. Plus, you’ll catch any prob­lems be­fore win­ter weather kicks in.

Make sure down­spouts drain away from the foun­da­tion and are clear of de­bris. Clogged gut­ters can lead to ma­jor is­sues like un­even floors, cracks in walls and in­te­rior wa- ter dam­age. This type of claim, also known as seep­age, is a main­te­nance is­sue and of­ten not cov­ered un­der your home in­sur­ance pol­icy. To pre­vent any ma­jor is­sues, clean gut­ters at least twice a year in fall and spring.

Does it take you two to three cy­cles to dry a load of laun­dry? If so, you may need to clean your dryer vent. One in five (21 per­cent) ad­mit they never clean their clothes dryer ducts, un­less they have a prob­lem. But lint build-up can catch fire eas­ily. Over 15,000 dryer fires oc­curred na­tion­wide from 2010 to 2014, with the ma­jor­ity be­ing ig­nited by dust, fiber and lint, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Fire Pro­tec­tion As­so­ci­a­tion. Avoid this dis­as­ter with a thor­ough clean­ing at least once a year.

Erie In­sur­ance found nearly half (46 per­cent) of peo­ple who own a home with a fire­place never have their chim­neys cleaned. How­ever, un­cleaned chim­neys are a lead­ing cause of struc- ture fires, re­ports the Na­tional Fire Pro­tec­tion As­so­ci­a­tion. So, get the chim­ney cleaned be­fore the cold weather hits and you find your­self toss­ing logs in the hearth to keep the house toasty, and then have it cleaned an­nu­ally.

Sump pumps re­move ex­cess wa­ter from homes that would oth­er­wise cause prop­erty dam­age. It’s im­por­tant to clean a sump pump and its pit an­nu­ally to keep base­ments dry and help pre­vent mold growth and wa­ter dam­age. Do this main­te­nance project in fall to help pro­tect against heavy rain­falls and ac­cu­mu­lated melt­ing snow and ice of win­ter.

For more in­for­ma­tion on how you can pro­tect your home through the sea­sons, visit www.ErieIn­

Now that you have your check­list, it’s time to roll up your sleeves while it’s still nice out­side. Whether you’re a DIYer or pre­fer hir­ing a pro­fes­sional, cross­ing these projects off your to-do list will help en­sure you are safe and se­cure be­fore tem­per­a­tures drop.


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