Family Safety A Front to Back Home Improvements Checklist
Putting your family’s safety first means making some front to back home improvements that shore up your home. When you think of safety, you might think of security systems or fire alarms, but family safety includes far more than that. You can do many of these things on your own, but a few items require a professional contractor. Let’s explore how to make your home a much safer place.
Research the Sturdiest Fencing to Protect Your Pets and Children
Good fences make good neighbors. The old adage rings true, but this top-ranking item among these front to back home improvements does much more than keep nosy neighbors out of your yard. It protects your pets and children or grandchildren.
Hiring fence contractors results in the best installation, whether you choose a chain link, metal, or wood fence. The key element of a fence’s added security is that it requires keeping the gate closed and locked at all times. Installing a fence corrals your kids and pets inside your yard, so they do not run out into the street.
As a bonus, installing a fence, especially wood or rock/stone, adds to the value of your home. That means that you recoup part of your expenditure when you sell your house. Because you increase the home’s value, you also increase your equity in your home.
Remove Dangerous Trees That Could Destroy Your Property
You might not think about removing things from your yard as one of the front to back home improvements you need to make, but getting rid of trees that can damage your plumbing with their roots or instigate allergy attacks makes good sense. Hire a professional tree removal service to rid your yard of dead trees and those sick with disease or pests like bagworms.
One sick tree can spread quickly to other trees. Removing it can help keep your yard a healthier place. Calling a professional for this tree removal ensures that both the tree and the stump leave your yard safely.
Update Your Locks
Whether someone in the household recently lost their keys or that happened repeatedly through the years, updating your locks should top your list of front to back home improvements for safety. Besides providing new keys all around, lock manufacturers constantly improve technology. New doorknob sets, chain locks, bolt locks, etc. use newer materials that better withstand burglars and weather.
You can place door lock replacement firmly on the DIY list. After watching a YouTube video, most individuals can successfully change a lock set. The same rings true for installing a bolt latch or chain lock. Don’t just update the front door; also install new locks on the rear and side doors, plus a door leading from the garage into the home.
Repair Your Asphalt Driveway to Prevent Tripping and Falling
On the other hand, when it comes to asphalt repairs, hire a professional contractor, whether a mason or a hardscape expert. These front to back home improvements require a professional touch. When you consult with professionals, ask about sealants for outdoor use or switching to an epoxy material.
While you might think of DIY-ing some cement crack filling, go the better route. A professional mason can help you improve the performance of your driveway and related areas, such as the sidewalks, walkways, and garage floor. Ask about sealants for the garage floor, too.
Hire Experts to Prevent Water Damage and Mold in Your Basement
Definitely place basement waterproofing on your front to back home improvements list to protect your family’s health and safety. Although waterproofing may seem to focus on protecting belongings first, in reality, it prevents mildew and mold from forming. That protects you and your family from a laundry list of problems, including respiratory diseases, asthma attacks, and mold-induced illnesses.
Hiring a professional contractor to waterproof the basement does much more than prevent leaks. In some locations, waterproofing also includes the installation of a sump pump, since flooding occurs with some regularity. Your local expert in basement waterproofing can apprise you of the most common features to install, including basement liners, caulking, sealants, and sump pumps.
Assess Your Water Heater
Although it doesn’t get much press, older water heaters can create home dangers in two ways. First, they can flood the room in which they’re stored. Second, they can explode, spewing sparks and water throughout the room. Those sparks can ignite a house fire.
People try to get water heater to last their lifetime, instead of the water heater’s lifetime. The average water heater needs replacing when it reaches 15 years of age. If you put your water heater in the same year your child was born, you need to replace the water heater when your child gets their learner’s permit.
Consider a water heater upgrade at this time, one of the front to back home improvements for which your whole family will thank you. Switching to a tankless water heater means always on hot water for the whole family. The last in line for the bathroom won’t have to endure a cold shower anymore.
Keep the new water heater running perfectly using tankless water heater repair and maintenance professionals. Although this type of water heater also needs replacement at about 15 years, you can eek better performance out of it throughout its lifespan with proper annual maintenance.
Call an Electrician to Check Your Wire Safety
Few homeowners think to call local electricians for a wiring safety check, but electrical wiring can and does go bad sometimes. Typically, this involves damage that leads to the wiring problem. In some buildings in New York City, rats in the apartment building walls have gnawed on wiring, causing shorts and fires. While not common in that city or most others, it does provide a real-world example of how wiring gets damaged. Other causes include rising water floods, fires, and faulty installations.
If wiring checks did not top your front to back home improvements list, now you know why it lands on ours. Roofing damage or fallen tree limbs on your roof should prompt a wiring check. So should tiny brown pellets on the utility room or garage floor or in any room of the house. Those little brown pellets that resemble chocolate sprinkles are the feces of mice or rats.
When you see those pellets, you need to phone a licensed electrician to check your home’s wiring. Mice and rats use the interior of walls and plumbing lines to get around. They don’t maliciously cause you home damage; just like humans, they look for a warm, dry place to live and something yummy to eat. The electrician fixes the wiring, but you need a different professional to solve the larger problem.
Work With Pest Control
Now that your bad wiring no longer causes safety issues in your home, hire an exterminator to deal with the mice or rats problem. If you want to have them use a humane removal method, you can. Most professional exterminators also offer capture and release options for rodents. This refers to setting traps that capture the rodents; when you let the exterminator know that the animal became trapped, they drop by and remove it.
This option works well with some rodents, especially those in the yard. If you see one mouse or rat though, you should know that many others live somewhere nearby, such as down the plumbing pipe or in the walls. Your exterminator will probably need to spray something deadly to the rodents to rid your home of them.
The home maintenance to keep the pests gone for good remains up to you. Clean your home regularly, especially cleaning the kitchen fully. Take out the trash and roll the garage can to the road before pick-up day or at least as far from your home as possible. Stack firewood on the outer edge of the yard to keep rodents from nesting near your home.
Clean up any trash or debris piles in the yard. These piles also attract rodents to your house. Rent a storage unit for lumber and other building materials. Find out your municipality’s yard clean-up day and bundle your tree limbs and other yard debris accordingly.
Clean Your Chimneys to Prevent Poor Air Quality
Now that you cleaned up your yard, look up and check your chimney’s health. Hiring chimney cleaning services might sound like something out of Mary Poppins but as far as front to back home improvements go, it ranks among the top real-world needs. Because so many items in homes are self-cleaned now, many homeowners forget the need to hire a chimney sweep.
When you light a fire in a chimney using natural gas or wood, it creates carbon monoxide, which escapes through the home’s chimney. Without a clear chimney, this gas cannot escape your home and builds up instead. Hire a chimney sweep to clean out your chimney before you use it each fall. This annual cleaning keeps your family safer.
This professional does more than use their professional tools to clean the chimney. They also inspect it to ensure your brickwork remains up to snuff. From removing birds’ nests in the chimney to clearing out the soot that can kill you, chimney cleaners do a vital job.
If you want to avoid needing to hire this professional each year, switch to a ventless faux electric fireplace or a ventless gel fuel fireplace. Either of these options provides heat without fumes. Gel fuel or bio-fuel burns an actual fire, but using an alcohol made from corn that burns cleanly without creating a carbon monoxide build-up.
Routinely Check on Your Gutters to Avoid Damage
Every month, check your roofing gutters for twigs, leaves, and other debris. Staying on top of these items results in better performance from the roof gutters. Besides your monthly DIY cleaning, also hire a professional gutter cleaning and repair service at least once per year.
As far as front to back home improvements go, this one may not seem glamorous, but it keeps your home’s roof in great shape. Smoothly functioning roof gutters also protect your home’s foundation from water. Immediately address broken or leaking guttering systems and have them installed on any home that does not have them.
Make Sure Your HVAC System is Working Properly
For your final major task on the front to back home improvements list, hire one of your local HVAC companies for an HVAC inspection and maintenance visit. Once you know that the system works properly, sign up for an annual maintenance plan, so the pros take care of everything every year. But, what if they find problems?
Every home that has HVAC eventually needs repairs to it. An annual maintenance plan solves part of this problem. Annual duct cleaning solves another problem. Repair any damage to the HVAC system as soon as possible because small damage can grow quickly.
Plow Through a Seemingly Exhaustive List
Sure, this list of front to back home improvements seems long. You do not have to conduct this entire list annually. You repair the things that broke, then schedule annual maintenance visits to upkeep the repairs. While it seems like a long list, most service providers offer free annual inspections.
That immediately reduces your costs because you only need to spend money if the inspection uncovers damage. Service providers with whom you register for maintenance plans want to keep your business, so they don’t lie about damage. Instead, each year, they provide you with an accurate assessment of the damage.
Once they replace your worn appliances or roof, they report any damage to keep it functioning ideally. Keep in mind that most home appliances wear out after 15 years, so if your service expert says that your 20-year-old HVAC system needs replacement, they tell the truth. Dishwashers often last less than 15 years, requiring replacement after nine years of use.