For a few hours' time and a small investment, you can do a lot to protect your property. Even renters can ensure comfortable surroundings with some of these tips.
Get energy efficient. If you have not yet installed a programmable thermostat, now is the time to do it. You can reduce your cooling costs by 10 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Thermostats cost $40 to $70.
Seal around the tub and shower. Cracked or poorly sealed caulking around tubs, showers, and sinks can lead to water damage to floors, walls, and the ceilings below, say experts writing in Money magazine. When you see cracks or gaps, buy a $5 tube of caulking and reapply.
Prevent fires. Check your fire extinguisher to see if it's still charged. If you need a new one, buy an extinguisher that works on both kitchen and electrical fires. The National Fire Protection Agency recommends one that is labeled ABC. Cost is about $40.
Test the sump pump. Before a heavy rain floods your basement, test your sump pump to see if it works. Pour water into the well around it. Raising the water level should make it go on.
Prevent shocks. Electrical outlets near water in the kitchen and bathroom should have ground fault circuit interrupters that protect from a shock They have "test" and "reset" buttons. If you need one, the GFCI costs about $10, but you should hire an electrician to install it.
Service the garage door. Spray penetrating oil such as WD-40 into the hinges and rollers so the door will open and close more easily. Test the safety reverse mechanism by placing an object in the door's path to see if it stops. WD-40 costs about $7.