10 Overlooked Home Projects

Overlooked home projects include changing smoke alarm batteries.

Planning on sprucing up your home this spring?

If so, you probably already have a list of annual projects. But there are many others that fly under the radar. Paul Sullivan, founder of a full-service remodeling company and the chairman of the National Association of Home Builders Remodelers, suggests you tackle these overlooked home projects.

    1. Replace your water heater. It’s pricey (about $800 to $1,600), but it’s important. When water heaters run too long, they can leak or burst. The fix: Have a pro install a new one at least every 10 years.

    2. Clean out your drains. It’s a good idea to remove the pop-up drain stopper in your bathroom sinks and clean out trapped debris several times a year. Also, periodically run the kitchen disposal to clear out debris.

    3. Inspect your gutters. Clogged gutters quickly fill with water—and that can lead to a roof leak. The remedy? Have gutters inspected and cleaned by a licensed professional each year for about $200 to $300.

    4. Trim trees. Hire a certified arborist to trim nearby trees—especially if they pose a danger to your house. (Check with your city first to see if you need a permit.)

    5. Inspect your roof. Roof work is dangerous, so hire a licensed professional to inspect yours once a year. An inspector can often suggest small fixes that could prevent a pricey leak.

    6. Regularly change your furnace filter. Clean filters help prevent fires and allergy-inducing dust from circulating throughout your house. Follow the manufacturer’s replacement recommendations and/or regularly assess how dirty your filter looks.

    7. Clean out dryer lint. Trapped lint can cause a dryer fire, so make sure to thoroughly clean out your lint trap after every load.

    8. Buy a fire extinguisher. Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and injuries. Stash at least one easy-to-access extinguisher in your kitchen.

    9. Swap out old batteries. Check the batteries in your smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and flashlights twice a year to ensure they’re in good working order. (Tie this to Daylight Saving Time to make it easy to remember.)

    10. Fix easy trip-and-fall hazards. Whether it’s a bath tub that would benefit from a rubber mat or an old rug that won’t stay in place, it’s an accident waiting to happen.

Remember to let your Erie Insurance Agent know about any major home improvement projects. A larger-scale home improvement project could up the value of your home, so you’ll want to be sure you have enough coverage in the event something unfortunate occurs.

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