Northwest residents admit to falling behind on spring maintenance



​​spring cleaning- smoke detectors.jpgThough many Northwest residents recently remembered to spring their clocks forward an hour, a majority likely forgot to change their smoke detector batteries – a chore that tends to go hand-in-hand with Daylight Saving Time. In fact, according to a poll from PEMCO Insurance, many Northwest residents admit to falling behind on other important maintenance like cleaning gutters and landscaping, too.

The latest PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll shows nearly two out of three residents (63 percent) admit they clean their gutters just once per year or less. But experts advise clearing gutters and downspouts at least twice per year – once in the spring and once in the fall – as clogged or overflowing gutters can lead to wet basements, damaged siding, or rot and leaks at your roof's edge.

"Many of us in the Northwest are still thawing out from one of the coldest and wettest winters on record, but now is the time to start doing important maintenance tasks on your home to save you from expensive repairs or more severe consequences down the road," said PEMCO Spokesperson Derek Wing. "Maintenance chores can be tedious tasks, but it's critical to take action now."

According to the PEMCO poll, more than half of Northwest residents admit they overlook another important chore. Fifty-seven percent test their smoke alarms just once per year or less – a frequency far below the U.S. Fire Administration's recommendation of once per month. Though many may assume that smoke detectors are common in most homes, the reality is that three out of five fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms, according to the National Fire Protection Association.  

Outside, dry grass can also act as fuel for home and wildland fires, but about one-third of residents (38 percent) whose landscaping includes dry grass or brush say they only maintain it about once per year or less, which could pose a threat to their home – and their neighbors' property, too.

NFPA recommends that residents trim dry or brown grass and remove debris and lawn clippings quickly to avoid danger at all times of year. But it's especially important to get the bulk of this work done in the spring, before conditions become too dry and the threat of fire rises.

"It's important to set regular reminders throughout the year to help stay on top of important maintenance work. Whether you tackle it yourself, or hire experts to get the job done, make sure to set aside time now and in the early fall months to remove leaves and other debris from your gutters, change your smoke detector batters and clean up your landscaping in preparation for winter," Wing added.

For a complete summary of PEMCO's poll results, visit, where you'll find the responses collected by FBK Research of Seattle in November 2016.


About the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll

PEMCO Insurance commissioned this independent survey, conducted by FBK Research of Seattle, that asked Washington and Oregon residents questions about driving habits and attitudes toward current Northwest issues. The sample size, 600 respondents in Washington and 600 in Oregon, yields an accuracy of +/- 4.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. In other words, if this study were conducted 100 times, in 95 instances the data will not vary by more than the associated error range.

About PEMCO Insurance

PEMCO Insurance, established in 1949, is a Seattle-based provider of auto, home, boat, and umbrella insurance to Northwest residents. PEMCO Insurance is sold to consumers by the method they choose – phone, local community agents, or online. For more information, visit