Home improvement projects can offer years of enjoyment and make great investments – especially for homeowners looking to fix up a new home purchase or increase their homes’ energy efficiency. To make valuable renovations to their homes, consumers must be focused and patient in order to make good decisions that impact the value of their homes while limiting spending. However, while budget and aesthetic considerations are always important, safety should also be at the top of any ‘to do’ list.
According to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies’ “A New Decade of Growth for Remodeling,” the US home improvement industry is emerging from its worst downturn since the … early 1960s, [and] homeowners who deferred maintenance and improvements during the recession may soon start to spend more freely.
As more homeowners embark on new remodeling projects, remember unless safety comes first, especially with older homes and do-it-yourself jobs, all your outlay and hard work can literally go up in smoke.
Here are some simple suggestions that sometimes get overlooked—but that can make a big impact on the safety and integrity of your home improvement project:
• Before you start any project involving electricity, ask a qualified electrician to make certain you have enough wattage and that your wiring is up to building code standards.
• Before you install appliances, consider accessibility to outlets. If you plan accordingly, you can cut down on exposed wires and extension cords, which will reduce the possibility of fire. It’s also a good idea to consider adding outlets near your new appliances.
• Consider installing Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI)—in the event of a short, these circuits turn electricity off before severe injuries or electrocution can occur.
• Consider upgrading your safety devices. Smoke alarms, fire detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and home burglary alarms can protect your investment and keep your home beautiful for years to come.
• Take a look at the caulking around your windows. Proper caulking around your windows can help prevent water damage and lower heating bills.
• In the kitchen, ask a qualified plumber to check the condition of your pipes. Also, if you have small children, consider installing kid-safe features such as oven door surface warning lights, out of reach burner knobs, and stove knob covers.
• If you have a fireplace, consider upgrading its energy efficiency. Installing air circulation devices or a pellet stove can help with energy conservation and safety.
Once you’ve completed your improvements, be sure that you’ve protected your investment adequately. Improvements can increase the amount it will cost to rebuild your home. Check with your insurance agent to ensure that the amount of insurance protection on your property is adequate. Also, check if any of your improvements qualify you for insurance discounts or credits.
G S Jajj has over 15 years experience in the insurance industry. For additional information on home insurance, visit ASJ Insurance & Financial Services Inc. at 20100 N 51 AVE STE F640, GLENDALE, AZ or call (623) 243-4000.