July Home Maintenance Tips
Is your home alone?
July and August, when you’re enjoying your summer vacation, are the busiest months of the year for home burglaries, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Whether you’re in town or out of town, follow these tips to help deter break-ins.
- Keep the lights on. Use spotlights and motion-activated floodlights outside. Set a timer to turn on inside lights at appropriate times.
- Lock your doors and windows. Deadbolts are recommended for doors. Garage doors also need strong locks. If you have a tool shed, keep it locked so burglars can’t use the tools to break into your home. During warmer months, be extra vigilant about not leaving doors and windows open.
- Make sure your doors are strong and secure. Outside doors and frames should be made of metal or solid hardwood and be at least 1¾-inches thick. Each door must fit its frame securely.
- Install a monitored burglar alarm system and add window decals or lawn signs identifying that service. Some systems also offer remote lighting of your home while you’re away.
Before you leave for a trip, take these additional steps:
- Ask a neighbor you trust to check on your home regularly when you’re gone.
- Stop newspaper and mail deliveries.
- Advise your security company of your plans.
- Don’t post your travel plans on Facebook or Twitter.
Is Your Home Alone? Keeping It Safe When You’re Not There (Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety)
Watch Out for Wildfires
Summer heat combined with outdoor activities, such as camping and cookouts, brings a higher risk of wildfires. These fires move quickly and won’t give you much time to act as they head your way. Take these steps now:
- Create a safe zone around your residence to slow wildfires. Within 30 feet of your home (50 if you live in a heavily treed area or 100 if your home is on a hillside), introduce more native vegetation and space trees at least 10 feet apart. If you live in California, state law requires you to create an even larger safe zone that extends 100 feet.
- Clear debris from your roof and gutters. Remove dead plants and branches from your yard. Store firewood and other timber away from the house.
- Treat decks and fences with fire-resistant materials.
- Use only noncombustible roofing materials and cover exterior walls with stucco, stone, brick or other nonflammable materials.
- Choose dual-paned, tempered windows, which don’t break as easily as single-paned glass.
- Install mesh screens on vents to prevent embers from entering the house.
Protecting Your Home (Federal Alliance for Safe Homes)
How to Reduce Risks from a Wildfire (Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety)
Wildfire Protection (video from Federal Alliance for Safe Homes)
Blocked or dirty vents can be a fire hazard or lead to a buildup of dangerous fumes. Check the dryer, furnace and attic vents in your home to make sure they are clear and exhaust properly to the exterior.