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Your Home Is Thinking Spring…Are You?

Allstate Has Five Ideas For Spring Cleaning

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03/15/2005 - NORTHBROOK, Ill.

Did you know the weight of heavy winter snows could change the slope of your front lawn, or that the air conditioner outside your home could cause water damage inside your house? Last year, Allstate policyholders filed more than 910,000 insurance claims for damage to their homes. Of these, more than 430,000 claims were caused by daily problems like broken water pipes, cracked washing machine hoses, and leaky roofs -- showing it doesn't take a fire or disaster to hurt your home.

"Winter weather can be extremely hard on a house. Spring-cleaning is an excellent opportunity to identify and correct minor, seasonal problems that could end up causing more significant damage, frustration, and possibly an insurance claim down the road," said Dave Mueller, Homeowners' Claims Director for Allstate Insurance Company.

Five easy ideas for spring-cleaning…

Check roofs and windows…

Visually inspect roof valleys, chimneys, skylights, and vent flashings.

Temperature changes from the hot summer to the cold winter can cause expansion and contraction, which may lead to cracking in some roof cement and window caulking materials, creating potentially damaging water leaks. All exterior caulking maintenance should also be performed during spring-cleaning.

Walk your yard…

Check the grading of your property to ensure it drains away from your home's foundation.

Wet and snowy winter weather can cause soil to settle in plant and flowerbed areas, which are usually adjacent to your home's foundation wall. This can cause water to build up next to the foundation and possibly get into your home. If needed, re-fill or re-grade depressed areas. Basement window wells should also be cleaned and covers considered -- avoiding rainwater build-up and unnecessary leakage in these areas.

Inspect gutters…

Gutters should be inspected for debris and proper mounting.

The expansion and weight of ice and snow from winter storms can loosen gutters from their mounting points causing a change in pitch and water flow. Also, make sure downspouts are extended far enough to carry water away from the foundation wall of your house.

Condition your air conditioner…

Check the drainage pan and lines.

The drainage pan and drain line should be free of dust and debris that may accumulate over the winter. An obstructed pan and line could lead to an overflow and water damage.

Test pumps…

If you have a sump-pump, test it to make sure it is working properly.

Test the motor, float switch, and check valve to see if they are working properly and water is draining from the chamber. A back-up pump, or system, may be a consideration if you live in an area prone to groundwater problems.

Some work, particularly on roofs, may require professional services. Some homeowners may not be comfortable inspecting or working on their roof or on ladders. If so, check references with your local better business bureau, homebuilders association, or contractors association to help ensure you're hiring a qualified, reputable repair professional to work on your home.

The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer. Widely known through the "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®" slogan, Allstate helps individuals in more than 16 million households protect what they have today and better prepare for tomorrow through more than 13,600 exclusive agencies and financial specialists in the U.S. and Canada. Customers can access Allstate products and services through Allstate agencies, or in select states at and 1-800 Allstate®. EncompassSM and Deerbrook® Insurance brand property and casualty products are sold exclusively through independent agents. Allstate Financial Group provides life insurance, annuity, retirement, banking and investment products through distribution channels that include Allstate agencies, independent agencies, financial institutions and broker-dealers.

Bill Mellander, (847) 402-5600

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