Preventive maintenance this Labor Day weekend can ensure your home and family are ready for winter. Image: Ward Young Architecture and Planning

Labor Day weekend signals the end of summer, so it’s the perfect time to take care of a few chores around your home. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Gary Findley, CEO of Restoration 1 and bluefrog Plumbing + Drain, describes five relatively simple and inexpensive home maintenance projects that you can complete over the Labor Day weekend.

Clogged gutters can damage your home. Image: Gutter Helmet of MN

Clean out the gutters

“The gutters on your home can be filled with leaves, sticks and other debris. Over time, if not cleaned regularly, that debris can prevent the gutters from doing their job – ending with potential water damage to the interior or exterior your home,” says Findley. “Clogged gutters can also lead to mold and provide a home for unwanted pests and rodents.” He recommends cleaning your gutters every four months, depending on where you live and how many trees are in your yard.

A working smoke alarm could save your life. Image: First Alert/BRK Brands

Check the smoke alarms

“Checking your smoke alarm can be as simple as just changing the batteries to make sure the alarm is ready for any heated situation – and be sure to test it,” Findley says. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there’s a home structure fire every 90 seconds. Also, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. “Fires can occur in a variety of ways in any room in your home. A smoke alarm is critical for the early detection of a fire,” Findley says. “Smoke alarms should be installed on every floor of the home, outside sleeping areas, and inside bedrooms.”

Keep your preparedness kit close at hand. Image: The Organized Home

Put together a storm emergency kit

“With hurricane season upon us, now is the perfect time to set aside important resources and put together a preparedness kit in the case of any natural disaster,” Findley says. “Your preparedness kit should consist of basic supplies like water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, a first aid kit, personal documents, etc.” However, he says you should also consider what your family members might need, like games for the kids and pet supplies.

Even small leaks can be expensive. Image: Carey’s Custom Woodworking

Inspect the household appliances

“A leaking appliance can cause a serious amount of water damage to your home. Take the time to look over your appliances to make sure they’re in tip-top shape,” Findley advises. This includes your refrigerator, AC unit, water heater, etc. “According to Dome Home Automation, the average water damage claim is $6,965. And that’s not hard to believe if you consider that around 250 gallons of water can be lost in a single day from a 1/8-inch crack in a pipe.” Findley recommends making regular inspections, replacing hoses and shutting off the water when you notice a leak. “You should also teach everyone in your household how shut off the water in case of an emergency,” he advises.

Water pressure can be too low or too high. Image: Walls and Floors

Check the water pressure

If the water pressure is too high, Findley says the water can damage your pipes over a period of time. “Most people only think to check the pressure if it seems low, but high water pressure can harm your water heater, faucets, appliances and even your washing machine hoses – and that can result in flooding your home.” He says you can test your water pressure by using a pressure gauge. “If it’s too high, you can install a water pressure regulator on the water main to make sure the maximum flow is 75 psi.” If it’s too low, he says you can either inspect the regulator to make adjustments or install a water pressure booster, which will improve the water flow.

Are there any other projects you’d like to complete over Labor Day weekend?