PREPARING YOUR HOME BEFORE VACATION
The Bureau of Insurance of North America reported that there is an increase in insurance claims during the months of June through August. This is largely due to homeowners going on vacation. Claims volume for homes increase 13% – 31% during this time. Here are a few tips on how to prevent your home and family from becoming another statistic. 1. MOLD DAMAGE PREVENTION: Don’t adjust your AC more than 3 or 4 degrees. Thinking you don’t need your AC on while you are away is a myth. In reality, the AC helps keep the humidity levels down in your home. This is especially true in the southeast and Midwest regions. If you adjust the temperature too much, or turn the air conditioner off completely, you will cause your home to sweat, creating a warm and wet environment for potential mold growth.
FIRE DAMAGE PREVENTION:
Unplug all your small electronics and appliances. That includes, but is not limited to clocks, lamps, extra phone chargers, hair dryers, etc. These items have a very high failure rate and cause more fires than any other appliance or small electronics in your home. 3. WATER DAMAGE PREVENTION: The best way to prevent water damage while you are away on vacation is to shut off the entire water system of your home. To do this, you will need to locate your home’s meter, which is usually located outside the surrounding area of your home. You will also need a special “T” bar to turn it off. If you are unable to turn the water off at the meter, take the following steps before leaving on vacation. You will need to shut the water off at your water heater valve. There are two different kinds of valves you may find on your water heater: A valve that looks like the exterior faucet on your home. Simply turn this valve all the way clockwise. This will assure that this type of valve is completely closed and shut off. Or you might have a lever valve. If the direction of the lever is parallel to the pipe, then it is open. To close it, simply turn the lever a quarter of the way, making it perpendicular (or “T” shaped) to the pipe. This will assure that it is in the off position.
In addition to the water heater valve mentioned, some homes are also equipped with a sprinkler valve. This type of valve is designed to provide enough water in the home during a fire to get the occupants out of the home safely. It is not designed to save your home. This valve can cause a lot of water damage. In the case of a sprinkler valve, follow the same instructions as the lever valve, and put the lever in the “T” position to assure that it is off. Regardless of the circumstances – damage from storms or floods, mold assessment and remediation, or damage from fire or smoke, call your local restoration service office. These professionals are standing by and will mitigate the loss to prevent further damage and return the property to pre-loss condition as quickly as possible.