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home maintenance

10 Simple Steps to Keep Your Home in Shape

Maintaining your home can be a daunting task at first. Unexpected mishaps occur, causing homeowners and landlords costly repairs. But with diligent checkups, you can prevent those mishaps from getting unmanageable and keep your home in shape all year long. Below are 10 basic maintenance routines that can save you headaches and prevent major repairs.

  1. Routine checkups

Start simple: Test and replace the batteries for your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Even hard-wired smoke detectors have backup batteries that need to be tested and replaced. This routine checkup can prevent massive home damage and keep your loved ones safe.

  1. Yes, fire extinguishers do expire

If you’re not sure if you can still rely on your fire extinguisher, check the pressure gauge. If the needle is in the green, your fire extinguisher is in the clear. Otherwise, it’s time to get a new one.

  1. You have the power

Every month, test all Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt (GFCI) outlets by pressing the “test” button or using a GFCI tester. Call a professional electrician to help if you’re unsure.

  1. Clean air, clean home

Change your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) filters every one to three months, depending on your household. If you have a large household with pets, your filter may need to be checked more often. If your filter is damaged, replace immediately. Regular filter changes are key to maintaining healthy air quality in your home. Bonus benefit: increased HVAC efficiency, which means lower cost to run.

  1. Test the waters

If you have rooms that aren’t occupied daily, such as a guest bathroom, be sure to run the faucet and flush the toilet. This will help prevent grime or buildup.

  1. Rinse and repeat

If your washing machine and dryer are not routinely monitored, it can be hazardous to your home. Regularly check for exhaust to come out of your dryer. (Tip: it should smell like fresh laundry!) If exhaust is not coming out, check for blockages — this may require a professional. Additionally, be sure there are no leaks in your supply hose. If you have a metal supply hose, tighten it until it cannot be tightened any further.

  1. Clean the lint

Always clean the dryer lint screen after every load of laundry to prevent fires!

  1. Basement patrol

Don’t forget about the basement! Take a look through the area for any repairs and mold. If your concrete walls are visible, make note of any cracks and water because these can be indicators of foundation issues. Use a piece of chalk to mark any cracks so you can track the “growth.”

  1. Chimney sweep

To prevent a chimney fire, check the chimney, fireplace and vents at least once a year to remove buildup of soot and creosote. Removing creosote can be a challenge, so it’s recommended to have your chimney inspected by a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweep. Another tip: Never burn trash, cardboard boxes or trees in your fireplace because these can spark fires!

  1. Deep clean

Just as dentists recommend flossing your teeth in addition to daily brushing, it’s recommended to give your home a deep clean to enhance home care. Take one day a month to walk through your home and clean all the nooks and crannies. This includes baseboards, doorframes, cabinets and more. A clean home is a healthy home.

 

By regularly completing these 10 basic tips, you reduce your risk of frequent and costly home repairs. When in doubt, contact an experienced plumber, electrician or other professional.

As all homeowners know, anything can happen; so make sure your property is covered with a home insurance policy from Madison Mutual. Be a champion of safety and contact an agent today to determine the best coverage for you.

glove compartment

10 Essentials to Store in Your Glove Compartment

The glove compartment (also known as the glove box) was originally designed to store driving gloves – hence the name. Gloves were considered necessary equipment in early cars since many did not have a hard top. The gloves would prevent the cooling effect of fast-moving air from numbing the driver’s hands.

Now we have sturdier roofs on our vehicles, and the glove compartment is a well-sized and easy-to-access place that can be used to store driving essentials. But what exactly should you keep in that handy little box?

Here’s what you should consider keeping in your glove compartment!

Important Documents – Keep all of your important documents such as proof of insurance, automotive registration, and a copy of your driver’s license in a plastic bag or held together by a paper clip.

ICE Card with Vital Information – It’s a smart idea to keep an “In Case of Emergency” (ICE) card with important information about you and your family members in your glove box. Be sure to list emergency contacts, physicians, any medications used or allergies for you and your family on the card. This is great to have in case you’re involved in an accident and can’t communicate these important facts yourself.

Owner’s Manual – Many manuals come in combo packs with stereo and navigation instructions, optional warranties, and more. In order to have room for other essentials, most experts recommend storing only the main manual in your glove compartment so that way you’ll have vital information about your car’s engine and more at hand when you need it.

Tire Pressure Gauge – This is a small and useful tool to have on hand in the event that your tires have low air pressure.

Flashlight – You don’t have to have a big flashlight; there are dozens of small – sometimes even flat – LED flashlights out there. They not only take up very little space, but they also emit a lot of bright light.

Fuses – Stock your glove compartment with a few backup fuses, which can be picked up at a hardware store for a few dollars. Replacing the fuse for lights or windows is fairly simple, especially if you have the right tools on hand.

Phone Charger – A cellphone is one of the most important items you should have with you in a car in the event of an emergency, but it will only be helpful if it has power. Keep a charger around in case your battery is running low.

First Aid Kit – Invest in a small kit from your local drugstore. Add important over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, anti-nausea medicine, and allergy pills for you and your family members.

Pen and Paper – If you’re ever involved in an accident and need to exchange information, you will need something to write on and with. Keep a pad of paper and a working pen in your glove compartment, just in case!

Travel Wipes, Tissues, and Hand Sanitizer – You might not think this should really be included in your glove compartment, but it’s always nice to wipe your hands clean after touching a gasoline hose or before going into a restaurant to eat!

We at Madison Mutual always do our best to look out for you because we know that anything can happen! If you have any questions in regards to your car or auto insurance, be sure to call the experts at Madison Mutual at 1-800-766-MMIC or check us out online at www.madisonmutual.com!

Storm damage

5 Common Storm Damage Repairs You Need to Know About

We know that in the event of a storm, anything can happen. The storm clouds might roll silently past you, or it could bring your world crashing down in an instant. When disaster strikes, you need to know what to do and whom to call. That’s why we’ve outlined 5 of the top storm damage repairs that occur for homeowners.

Read about these common repairs below!

Some of Your Shingles Are Missing – It’s not terribly uncommon for shingles to go missing after a mean storm has ravaged an area. If you find some shingles missing on your roof, you may patch or tarp the roof so that the interior of your home is protected. If you don’t know how to or are unable to, ask a professional to do the work for you.

Your Home’s Interior Has Water Damage – Let’s say the shingles’ absence caused your home’s interior to retain water damage. Step 1 – don’t panic. Step 2 – you need to clean up the water or have the water professionally cleaned in order to prevent further damage. Try to contact a professional immediately, if you can.

There’s Damage to Your Windows, Doors, or Walls – If you find that a limb crashed your window, a tree fell on your roof and crushed your wall, or any other similar sort of damage occurred to your property, do all that you can then and there to cover all of the openings to prevent further damage from happening. You’ll want to protect your home against the elements as much as possible until repairs have been made.

You Have a Plumbing Leak or Damaged Water Lines – If you happen to suffer a loss from your water lines or find that you have plumbing leaks due to storm damage, please shut off the water source first! Next, take the proper steps to clean up the water or call a professional to help you avoid further damage.

A Tree Limb Fell Across Your Power Line – In the event that a tree limb happens to fall across a power line of yours and causes an interruption of electricity, especially during the winter months, please be sure to substitute your power with a generator so you can keep your home warm and the pipes from freezing. If your pipes look like they might freeze, you may take steps to winterize your plumbing to prevent serious damage.

Most emergency or temporary repairs take a common sense approach. If you’re not sure what to do in the event that storm damage has taken place, your agent will always be happy to help you! You can also call us at Madison Mutual at 1-800-766-MMIC or visit us online at www.madisonmutual.com to help with any questions you might have.