Public Relations Manager, PA
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C: (302) 353-6563
Sr. Public Aff. Specialist, CT/DE/NJ/PA
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C: (610) 291-7312
AAA Mid-Atlantic: Spring Cleaning Tips from the Experts
PHILADELPHIA, PA (April 19, 2018) After one of the roughest and longest (feeling) winters in the last few years, residents of the tri-state area are ready and willing to take advantage of spring temperatures. Warmer weather may also prompt many homeowners to engage in some spring cleaning, inside and out. Adding some important home maintenance checks, and repairs to the spring to-do list can save homeowners a lot of hassle and expenses in the future.
“Spring is a great time to catch up on home maintenance,” said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Small repairs can save you money and headaches down the road.”
Outside the Home:
Inspect your roof - look for damaged shingles or tiles, and have them replaced. Don’t miss the base of the chimney. Repair any cracks to prevent water damage from leaks.
Trim your trees - prune tree limbs regularly to keep them away from your home, decks and outbuildings in case strong winds or precipitation cause them to break. If a tree is too close to your home, consider having it removed.
Clean out your gutters - remove leaves, sticks and other debris so spring showers can flow freely. Make sure gutters are secure and downspouts drain away from your foundation. If possible, extend the bottom of the downspout away from your home by at least six feet.
Test wood for water damage - make sure wood on your home is not soft when you press it. It isn’t just exposed wood that is at risk. Even vinyl- or aluminum-sided homes have wooden framing and trim. Repair or replace soft wood as needed.
Inside the Home:
Check for appliance leaks - look for signs of leakage around your washing machine, dishwasher, refrigerator, water heater and other appliances that use water. Consider installing water sensors near appliances and in areas that could leak or flood. They can alert you, through an alarm or mobile app, when water touches them.
Clean your dryer vent - nearly 3,000 home dryer fires happen every year according to the U.S. Fire Administration, causing $35 million in property loss annually. Cleaning dryer vents could prevent about a third of those fires. Clean your lint trap after every use.
Home Improvement Advice
Spring may also be a great time for a home improvement project but AAA Mid-Atlantic warns homeowners that if your project involves a contractor, choose carefully to protect yourself against unethical practices or incompetence.
Ask to see the contractor’s license along with other identification, and get references. If someone claims to be representing a contractor, but cannot show you a contractor’s license or home improvement salesperson registration card, call the contractor and find out if the person is authorized to act on their behalf.
It’s a red flag if your contractor:
does not have a local office or local telephone number.
is not willing to provide references.
uses a hotel or restaurant as their contact location.
handles all business in person, avoiding the use of mail.
wants a full cash payment up front.
does not have adequate equipment to perform the job.
approaches you at a loss site without being solicited.
gives an estimate that is very general – either in terms of the cost or in terms of what will be fixed and how it will be repaired.
does not have a contractor’s license bond, if required by the state.
is unwilling to provide a certificate of insurance from their general liability or workers compensation insurance carrier.
gives you a bid far below the bids you received from other contractors.
Help fight fraud
Using unqualified or fraudulent contractors can result in poor work, use of low-quality materials, price gouging, and unauthorized property removal among other concerns. Because property loss from a disaster can be so traumatic, victims of disaster can become easy targets for fraud. If you suspect fraudulent activity, report it to the National Insurance Crime Bureau in one of two ways:
Call 1-800-TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422).
Submit a form on the NICB website.
Homeowner’s and Renter’s Insurance Check-up
Just as spring is a good time for spring cleanup and maintenance to your home, it is also a perfect time to review insurance coverage to make sure your dwelling and belongings are protected in case of disaster.
“It’s a good idea to thoroughly and regularly review your insurance policies,” said Tidwell. “You may want to consider a variety of factors, from the value of your home and contents, to any upgrades you plan to make to your home. In doing this, you can determine what sorts of changes you might need to make to your insurance coverages for 2018.”
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Pennsylvania. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.