Ah, the joys of home ownership. Sure, it comes with plenty of privileges, but homeownership also means more responsibilities. And while it might seem daunting at first, a few smart maneuvers can help prevent several homeowner nightmares — and maybe even save you some money (and time) in the long run. Let’s take a look at 5 ways to extend the life of your home.

How to help safeguard your home

1. Clean the gutters

The dry season is a great time to take care of any drainage issues that could haunt you come winter. Ensuring your gutters drain properly is a simple and relatively inexpensive task that can make a big impact. When gutters are clogged, excess water splashes down toward your siding and foundation, causing cracks to form and walls to lean over time. This is especially true if water puddles there, so make sure your downspouts are directing water a good 5 to 10 feet away. To prevent these puddles, you can add in a 6-inch slope around your home with a little topsoil.

2. Get your roof inspected

A leaky roof can cause some major moisture damage (like dry rot) over time, but there are a few simple ways to prevent it. For starters, walk around the outside of your house and use binoculars to check out the roof. Look for cracks in the flashing, any missing or buckled shingles, and any excess lichen or moss since these are signals that there may be decay or rot. And if you decide to get a professional inspection, it could cost a couple hundred dollars — but it just might save you money (and a big headache) later on.

3. Fix your leaks

Some water leaks are obvious, but some go undetected, causing damage to wood, metals, and sheetrock. And when anywhere between 2,000 and 20,000 gallons go to waste, it’s a drain on your pocketbook and the environment. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this (or even stop it in its tracks). If you notice that your water bill is a bit high, it could be a sign that you have a leak. A more precise method is to run a test. Shut off your indoor and outdoor water and then look at your water meter. Record that number. After 15 minutes, check the water meter again. If that number is higher, it could be a sign that you have a leak.

4. Keep the pipes clear  

Pouring grease down the drain is a definite no-no. It seems like common knowledge, but the reasons behind this are actually pretty compelling. When fat is poured down the drain and enters the sewers, it combines with some of the byproducts of corroding concrete. The result is a phenomenon referred to as “fatbergs,” and yes, it’s just as gross as it sounds. Congealed fat can clog sewers and your pipes, leading to backups and drainage problems. To avoid this, dispose of grease in the trash, or, even better, take it to a recycling center where it can be turned into biofuel.

5. Keep termites away

Keeping an eye out for termites is never a bad idea. If you notice crumbling sheetrock or small holes in your wood around the house, it could be a sign. Staying on top of leaks and drainage is a good first measure for preventing an infestation. You can also keep outdoor wood products (like lumber, mulch, and firewood) away from your house and off the ground. Seal any holes or cracks in the foundation. And trim any foliage away from your home’s foundation.

Protect your hard work

Early detection is key. With some good habits and a little bit of investigation around the house, you can spot the problem areas that could be causing damage to your home. Of course, if you’re ever in doubt, call a professional — a phone call today could prevent a costly repair down the line.

And while you’re fixing things up with a few more easy tips, make sure your entire home is protected with homeowners insurance. Get a quote today.

Safe and smart | Home safety


about Chris

Chris has written everything from fiction manuscripts to pretend newsletters about pirates. He's even edited numerous volumes of work written entirely by kids. As a freelance writer at Esurance, he strives to bring out the whimsy and heart of insurance. Outside of Esurance, Chris is an audiophile, visual artist, and explorer of late-night taquerias.