From the mid-1800s through the turn of the last century, coal or wood heated many homes and oil or gas illuminated rooms. After a long winter, interiors – from furniture and walls to windows and fixtures – sported a fine layer of coal dust, soot and combustion by-products. The dingy coating prompted homeowners to scrub houses from top to bottom when cold weather retreated. 

Spring cleaning continues as a tradition worldwide. Paul Davis, however, views spring cleaning as more than a quaint yearly ritual. “It’s an annual opportunity to reduce risks to your home through timely maintenance,” says Brian Rigsby, Paul Davis Restoration of The Tri State Area – Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, noting that the United Kingdom celebrates National Spring Cleaning Week every year. “In addition to cleaning you might be doing, we recommend focusing attention on seven areas that are problem sources of water damage or fire risk.”

Recaulk bathrooms and kitchens: Caulk shrinks over time, creating gaps that quietly funnel water into and under walls, cabinets and floors. Inspect caulk for looseness or gaps, stripping out and replacing with fresh and flexible caulk as needed.

Replace washing machine hoses: These unassuming connectors take center stage when they burst unexpectedly and cause catastrophic home floods. Constantly under tension and subjected to abrupt on/off cycles, they should be regularly replaced with steel reinforced models.

Inspect water heaters: Another frequent culprit in devastating home floods, water heaters can corrode, develop pinhole leaks or even burst if not regularly maintained and replaced as needed. Inspect your water heater annually for drips, rusted areas or warning sounds such as rumbling.

Ensure weather stripping is intact: Storm water can infiltrate homes slowly over time if weather stripping on doors and windows has detached or become brittle. Spring is a good time to annually inspect and replace this inexpensive layer of protection.

Clean gutters: Many a home has sustained water damage because clogged eavestrough funneled water into the house instead of through exterior downspouts and away from the foundation. Clean the eavestrough every spring – and more often if your home has nearby trees.

Inspect siding and roof: Damaged roofs and siding are two more notorious sources of home water damage. Ask a building professional to scan your exterior building envelope for gaps or material damage that may allow water into the home. 

Clean your dryer vent: Each year, homeowners experience thousands of fires in dryer vents, which become packed with flammable lint and heated to high temperatures with every load. Sweep the vent clean regularly – your electricity bill will thank you because clothing dries faster when vents are clear, too. 

If your home suffers fire or water damage, Paul Davis promises to arrive within four hours of a call for help, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Phone 800-661-5975.