Don’t overlook these maintenance tasks
If homeowners didn’t already have enough things to worry about, here are a few more. Review this list of items that Cincinnati Insurance specialists say are the among the most overlooked maintenance tasks around your home. Taking care of the things on this list can save you money as well as prevent a loss that could be costly or result in injury.
- Replacing your smoke alarms, not just their batteries. While it’s easy to remember to change batteries in your smoke alarms twice a year when the time changes from standard to daylight saving time and back, time passes quickly. Before you know it, your detectors are 10 years old and near the end of their useful life. According to the National Fire Alarm and Signaling code, smoke alarms should be replaced when they fail operability tests but no longer than 10 years from the date of manufacture. Over time, these devices can stop working. By replacing smoke alarms in accordance with the manufacturer’s published instructions, your family will be properly alerted in the event of a fire.
– Justin Yates, Loss Control Property Specialist
- Draining the sediment from your water heater. The instruction manual that came with your electric or gas water heater advises you to periodically open the drain valve and drain a small amount of water from the tank to remove sediment – check the instructions for the recommended quantity; the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors recommends several times a year – more frequently in hard water areas. As water heats, calcium carbonate and other minerals precipitate out of the water and sink to the bottom of the tank. Over time sediment can build up, reducing the efficiency of your appliance and increasing your energy costs.Perhaps most important, sediment can be dangerous if allowed to accumulate and harden in the bottom of your tank. This hardened sediment could cause the water heater to overheat. If the overheating is severe enough, the integrity of the vessel could be compromised and result in a catastrophic event known as a BLEVE (boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion) that can damage your home and cause severe injury. Regularly removing sediment in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions along with properly maintaining the pressure and temperature relief valve installed on the heater can increase efficiency and help to ensure the safe operation of your hot water heater. As a side note, sediment in the water tank could ruin its value as a source of clean water in an emergency. In a disaster, you can drain up to 40 or 50 gallons of drinkable water from your water heater tank, but built-up sediment could clog the drain or give the water an unpleasant taste.
– Duane Cantrell, Machinery & Equipment Specialties
- Cleaning the lint from your clothes dryer vents. Even though you clean the lint from the screen every time you dry a load of clothes, lint can still accumulate in the ducts or vent. When air circulation is blocked, the motor can overheat and cause a fire. Periodically pull your dryer out from the wall and thoroughly vacuum ducts and vents. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that dryers are the source of 2,900 fires annually and offers additional safety tips.
– Bill Gregory, Claims Property Specialist