Useful Things to Keep in Mind About Your Attic and Basement - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Jun 4, 2020

Useful Things to Keep in Mind About Your Attic and Basement

Attics and basements can be the two least thought of areas in your home but can have a big impact on your home’s overall condition. Whether you’re moving into a new home or want to be more mindful of your current attic or basement, there are things you need to look for to ensure the safety and longevity of your home. Read below to learn more about what you should keep an eye on in your attic and basement.

What to do if you find moisture in your attic or basement:

Finding moisture in your basement might be common. If you notice your current basement collects water when it rains, it's time to walk the perimeter of your home, both outside and in the basement, to see if you can find the source. It might be a leaking window, water heater, the way your yard is graded, or could also indicate foundation issues that need to be addressed. If your home doesn’t have gutters, consider making the investment, as they could be a solution for mitigating water in your basement. Keeping water as far away from your foundation as possible can help dramatically when it comes to reducing water in your basement.

If you have a serious water problem, consider installing a sump pump in your basement to potentially save thousands of dollars worth of water damage and the stress that comes with it.

Moisture in your attic might point to the obvious, a roof leak. After a rain shower, head to your attic to look for wet areas or water stains from past leaks. If you find a leak, call a roofer for professional advice. It might be a simple patch job, or a sign that it’s time to replace your roof.

Make sure your attic and basement have these:

You probably have some pretty serious equipment in your basement (furnace, water heater, electric service panel) that when exposed to water could cause a fire or lead to carbon monoxide exposure. Make sure you have carbon monoxide and smoke detectors on every floor of your home, but especially don’t forget your basement and attic. According to the NFPA, 15% of home fires from 2012-2016 started from home heating sources. Make sure you maintain your heating sources, such as your chimney, water heater, and furnace often by cleaning them and changing out filters when necessary.

Check for radon levels.

If you’ve recently purchased your home ,then it was likely tested for radon during the buying process. But for those who have lived in their home for many years, testing for this radioactive gas is extremely important. What is radon? According to the NYS Department of Health, it’s a gas that comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil and rock, getting into the air you breathe through the ground and into your home through cracks and holes in your foundation. By breathing radon, you are increasing your risk for serious illness, such as lung cancer. A radon test is a standard part of a home inspection prior to buying your home, but you can also purchase a self-testing kit. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the maximum level of radon your test should read is between 2.0 - 4.0 pCi/L. If your home has high levels of radon, the good news is it can be fixed! Call your local plumber or research radon mitigation professionals in your area to install a radon mitigation system.

Pay attention to the temperature.

If you enter your unfinished attic and it’s unbearably hot in the summer, you might need more ventilation in your roof. Adding a roof vent system to the peak of your home can help extend the life of your roof, since a scalding attic can prematurely deteriorate your shingles.

If you have livable space in your attic, and you have no water pipes, there isn’t much to worry about if your highest floor is cold in the winter. Safely adding space heaters to liveable space can help keep you toasty during these months, and adding an air conditioner in the summer can help on warmer days.

Be aware of unwanted “tenants”.

We hate to go here, but keeping an eye out for signs of pests is a must in your attic and basement. If you notice any signs of life other than yours, call a pest control specialist to help find their entry and exit points. It might be as simple as caulking your windows for small bugs and adding insulation foam to any cracks in your basement for larger unwanted critters.

Being more aware of your attic and basement can help you avoid major issues with your home in the long run. Click the button below to find a local insurance agent to discuss your homeowner’s policy and make sure you’re covered for whatever life throws your way. 

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