By making a few careful additions to our home’s internal systems, we can prevent some major, not to mention expensive, disasters
When you take care of your home, it will take care of you. So how do you do that? Well, it starts by following your maintenance schedule carefully.
However, accidents can happen, and things can go wrong. As homeowners, we should do our best to mitigate these accidents before they occur, and by making a few careful additions to our home’s internal systems, we can prevent some major, not to mention expensive, disasters.
Here are my top tips to help you protect it right:
Whether you’re away from home for 20 minutes, or 20 days, a leak can spring out of nowhere, potentially causing massive damage. Outside of physically shutting off the water every time you leave the house, what can you do?
Installing a water sensor is a great way to keep yourself safe. We just finished a project with a family who lost their entire kitchen due to a water leak, and the headache of dealing with their insurance became overwhelming.
Sensors are designed to detect leaks and when it notices a problem, triggers a shutdown of the system preventing further damage and leaks. So many on the market offer remote monitoring, so you’ll get a notification to your smart phone if there’s an issue, and you can send someone close by to investigate.
This addition costs a few hundred dollars, but could potentially save you thousands from water damage. To me, it’s money well spent. That said, if you’re going away for a while, it still doesn’t hurt to shut off your water.
While we’re on the subject of water — installing a drain guard on your basement drain can prevent water from backing up your sewer line. When city sewers are overwhelmed with heavy rainfall, water — and sewage — could start to creep back up your line. This inexpensive product can be installed for under $100 (in most cases you can even install it yourself), and again, could save you thousands of dollars in water damage.
Here’s a story I tell a lot: a while back, my home was affected by a power surge and I lost thousands of dollars worth of electronics, including a recently purchased TV. It wasn’t until afterwards that I learned about surge protection.
So what is a surge? It’s a random, high energy electrical disturbance that lasts less than a second. Even low level surges can damage electronics over time. Sure, you could use surge strips throughout your home — and you likely already are for your televisions, and other electronics. But are your appliances protected? What about your furnace? All of these could be affected by a power surge in your home.
To me, the best solution is to install a whole home surge protector that connects right to your breaker panel. In case there is a surge, the surge protector stops it from moving throughout the rest of your house.
The whole home surge protector — plus the cost of installation by a professional electrician — is a few hundred dollars up front but like a water sensor, if you don’t have one and suffer a surge, you could be paying a lot more to replace your broken appliances. Learn from my mistake here.
I think that any home could benefit from having a source of backup power. In case of a major weather event causing outages, it’s likely safer to stay home and indoors. A backup generator can provide power to the essentials you need until electricity is restored.
I really like standby generators as they are connected right to the home. In the case of an outage, they wake up and start providing backup power. This is more than just a convenience factor. Some of the systems in our home, like sump pumps, require power to keep running. Now, your sump pump should have battery backup on its own, but having a generator in place to keep it running is worth the peace of mind.
The cost of your generator will vary depending on its size and use. Smaller units to power particular sections of the home will be much cheaper than a unit meant to power a whole house during an outage.
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