As the weather starts to warm up, you might have thoughts about spring cleaning. This yearly ritual is believed to date back centuries when the changing seasons allowed people to open up their homes from winter hibernation. The promise of warmer weather makes people want to shed the heavy materials of winter and that closed-up feeling of stale air. While you undertake this year’s spring cleaning, you might give some thought to ways you can clean and de-clutter in a way that keeps your house safe from damage and having to file any insurance claims.
One of the more common causes of damage and home insurance claims is fire. When you are doing your spring cleaning, there are some ways you can minimize the risk of fire. Clutter is a common problem as it can mask hazards and also add fuel to a growing fire. When cleaning, make sure that you don’t have lots of clothes, bedding or fabric in areas that are exposed to high heat, which can result in a fire. For example, keep materials away from heater vents, electric lights, and outlets. All of these are areas that generate heat and, left unattended, can result in a fire. It’s pretty normal to have lots of heavy clothes and blankets piled up during the cold winter months, but now is the time to put them away. While your policy may cover fire damages, it’s certainly a better policy to avoid it in the first place!
If you’ve been running your central air heater or fireplace, it’s also time to do some cleaning. The heater will have an air filter and most experts agree that the filter should be changed on a regular basis for the most efficiency. While it should be changed more frequently than just seasonally, at least the change in seasons will be a good reminder to do it. The chimney is more of a hazard than an efficiency issue. When wood fires are burned in the fireplace, they leave an oily residue known as creosote on the inside of the chimney. The creosote needs to be professionally cleaned and removed or the buildup can easily flame into an out-of-control fire the next time you use your fireplace. Can you imagine the irony of your house burning down due to a fire in the fireplace?
When doing a deep, thorough cleaning of your house, you are probably going to look in places that you normally don’t even think about. This means you are likely scrubbing out the back of cabinets, underneath your sinks and behind your toilets. When you’re in those hard-to-reach locations, you should also give the pipes and knobs a quick look. If you detect any residue buildup or moisture, it’s possible that you have a leak and need to call the plumber before it develops into a larger problem. Water leaks are a significant source of damage in homes and many can be easily avoided with regular maintenance and inspections.
If you always keep in mind ways to prevent damage to your home, your spring cleaning activities can be rewarding in more ways than one!