Renters insurance

Home maintenance guide

Home Maintenance Guide

Seasonal tips for protecting your home when you're there and when you're not.

Your home. It's one of your most important investments. By keeping it properly maintained, you can help reduce the risk of a loss and help ensure the safety and well-being of your friends and family.

This guide provides seasonal tips for all areas of your home, including:

  • Exterior
  • Interior
  • Electrical
  • Pool
  • Patio
  • Driveway

We've also included a Vacation Check list and a Pool Safety and Maintenance Check list to help you protect your home while you relax and enjoy life. Please take a moment to review and familiarize yourself with these important inspection and safety tips.

Winter maintenance

Winter Maintenance

Keep the chill out and safely enjoy the season.

  • Check your outlets and all electrical holiday decorations for potential fire hazards such as frayed wires or loose connections. Do not overload the outlets, extension cords or surge protectors.
  • Check and clean your heating system to make sure it is in good working condition for the winter months. This is generally a job best performed by a professional.
  • Keep adequate fuel reserves on hand because fuel carriers might not be able to refuel for several days during severe weather.
  • Close off and lower the temperature in rooms that are not in use. Make sure there is sufficient heat to prevent the freezing of water pipes.
  • Insulate pipes that pass through unheated areas. Your home's crawlspace and attic are two such areas.
  • Clean or replace your furnace filter before the heating season begins.
  • Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct and space under the dryer. This prevents lint from accumulating and reduces the risk of fire.
  • Service snow removal equipment, and keep ice melting compound on hand to melt ice on walkways.
  • Set the heat in your home no lower than 55 degrees.
  • Remove screens from windows, and install storm windows.
  • Protect your roof against heavy snow and ice loads. Keep gutters clean and roof drains open.
  • Inspect washing machine hoses periodically, and replace hoses that show signs of wear or leakage.

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Spring maintenance

Spring Maintenance

Spring ahead with these home maintenance tips.

  • Inspect your smoke detectors, and make sure that there is one on each floor of your home. Test them monthly, and change the batteries annually or as needed.
  • Check the light bulbs in all your fixtures to be sure they are the correct wattage as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Replace all high-intensity bulbs (such as incandescent) with fluorescent bulbs that don't produce as much heat.
  • Check your electrical outlets for potential fire hazards such as frayed wires or loose-fitting plugs. Be sure not to overload electrical outlets, fuse boxes, extension cords or any other power service.
  • Keep a multi-purpose fire extinguisher accessible, filled and ready for operation.
  • Have your air conditioning system inspected by a professional as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Check for damage to your roof, and clean gutters and downspouts to keep debris from accumulating.
  • Check water heater for leaks and corrosion.
  • Clean or replace your furnace filter.
  • Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct and space under the dryer. Remove all lint, dust, and pieces of material.
  • Remove all dead trees in your yard, and keep healthy trees and bushes trimmed and away from utility wires.
  • Safely store oil and gas for lawn equipment and tools in a vented, locked area.
  • Repair cracked, broken or uneven driveways and walkways to provide a level walking surface.

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Summer maintenance

Summer Maintenance

Enjoy longer days and warmer nights while protecting your investment.

  • Check deck or patio for possible deterioration and safety hazards such as loose boards and protruding nails.
  • Check electrical outlets for potential fire hazards such as frayed wires or loose-fitting plugs. Be sure not to overload electrical outlets, fuse boxes, extension cords or any other power service.
  • Check all window and door locks to ensure correct functioning. Make sure all locks are secure and there are no holes in any of the screens.
  • Inspect recreational equipment for proper operation and possible dangers (e.g., Are swing sets secure, and do they contain any rusty bolts?).
  • Carefully inspect your toilet. Look for the erosion of plastic floater valves, and check all pipe connections.
  • Clean or replace your furnace filter.
  • Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct and space under the dryer. Remove all lint, dust and pieces of material.
  • Inspect washing machine hoses periodically, and replace hoses that show signs of wear or leakage.
  • Have your roof inspected by a professional once every few years to identify areas of potential leakage.

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Fall maintenance

Fall Maintenance

Prepare your home for cooler days ahead.

  • Have your furnace cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified technician.
  • Keep flammable materials, including all lawn and power equipment, away from water heaters and wiring in the basement.
  • Insulate water pipes in areas exposed to cold temperatures, and turn up the thermostat during extra cold periods.
  • Check for damage to your roof, and clean gutters and downspouts to keep debris from accumulating. This is especially important during the fall season to keep leaves from building up in gutters.
  • Check and repair caulking around doors and windows that show signs of deterioration.
  • Check caulking around showers, bathtubs, sinks and toilet bases; and make repairs as needed.
  • Have your chimney cleaned and maintained annually by a professional.
  • Clean and/or replace your furnace filter.
  • Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct and space under the dryer. Remove all lint, dust, and pieces of material.
  • Check your electrical outlets for potential fire hazards such as frayed wires or loose-fitting plugs. Be sure not to overload electrical outlets, fuse boxes, extension cords or any other power service.
  • Keep a multi-purpose fire extinguisher accessible, filled and ready for operation.
  • Inspect your smoke detectors. Make sure there is one on each floor of your home. Test them monthly, and change the battery annually or as needed.

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Vacation checklist

Vacation Checklist

A vacation is your time to relax and enjoy life.

  • Make sure all electrical appliances are turned off.
  • Clean the refrigerator of all perishable foods, and take out the garbage.
  • Lock all windows and doors.
  • Arrange to have the newspaper and mail held until your return, or have them picked up by a trusted neighbor.
  • Arrange to have your lawn mowed (or snow shoveled) while you're away. Ask a neighbor to set out your trash on collection day and then retrieve empty cans and recycling bins the same day.
  • Let a trusted neighbor know you will be away and have them keep an eye on your home. It's a good idea to leave your vacation address and telephone number with a neighbor so you can be reached in case of an emergency.
  • Never leave your house key hidden outside your home.
  • Set timers on interior lights.
  • Make sure to unplug televisions, computers and appliances susceptible to lightning and power surges.
  • Advise your alarm company and local police if you will be gone for an extended period.
  • Store jewelry and valuable items in a safe-deposit box.
  • Arrange for the care of pets.
  • Set the heating system to provide minimum heat of 55 degrees.

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Swimming pool safety and maintenance

Swimming Pool Safety and Maintenance

Protect your friends and family as you beat the heat.

  • Maintain secure fencing and a locked entrance around the pool and deck area to prevent access when adequate supervision is not available.
  • Make sure there is adequate lifesaving equipment in the pool area, including life preservers and a rescue hook.
  • Keep chemicals safely stored away from the pool area. Follow all storage and usage instructions recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Never leave a child unattended in the water or pool area.
  • Inspect the liner periodically. Rips and tears can appear undetected at the top of the lining.
  • Check for signs of wear and tear in areas where pipes or other items may have penetrated the liner (e.g., skimmers, hoses, etc.).
  • For above ground pools, check metal supports for rust or deterioration. These may indicate areas where the pool could rupture or a person could be injured.
  • Check the deck for safety hazards (e.g., protruding nails, loose boards, etc.).
  • Keep your pool maintained and seasonably prepped. Be sure to lower the water level and keep the pool covered in the winter months.
  • Install an audible pool alarm to alert you if someone falls into the pool while it is unattended.

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The information on this site is general in nature. Any description of coverage is necessarily simplified. Whether a particular loss is covered depends on the specific facts and the provisions, exclusions and limits of the actual policy. Nothing on this site alters the terms or conditions of any of our policies. You should read the policy for a complete description of coverage. Coverage options, limits, discounts and deductibles are subject to availability and to individuals meeting our underwriting criteria. Not all features available in all areas.

Insurance is underwritten by The Travelers Indemnity Company and its property casualty affiliates, One Tower Square, Hartford, CT. For a complete list of personal insurance underwriting companies, click here.