These top tips will help you protect your family and investment, prevent disasters before they happen and help you plan ahead for emergencies.

Protect your investment; permits and inspections equal value and safety. Get good DIY advice or hire only licensed pros.

Protect your family’s safety and your home’s value by hiring professional contractors and obtaining proper building permits. Unpermitted work on a home can cause problems at the time of sale or in filing an insurance claim. Many insurance companies may not cover losses caused by unpermitted work.

To understand the permitting process for DIY home construction projects, go to and search for ‘Residential Permits’ for projects in unincorporated Clark County. If you are within the city limits, visit and search ‘Building Permits’

Local Building Departments: City of VancouverCity of Battle GroundCity of La CenterCity of Ridgefield, and City of Washougal.

Know your home. Do you know where to shut off your water if a pipe breaks or reset a flipped breaker? Maintain your home. Do you know where your furnace filter is located? Learn to live well. Choose alternatives to chemicals in your home and yard. Join Clark Green Neighbors and learn about sustainability. Get useful information for energy efficiency, saving water, and how to maintain your home to live well. All these details can be found in the Clark County Homeowners Manual

House fires and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning affect around 400,000 American households every year. Why play with the odds of something terrible happening to your family? Make sure your home has smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that work. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when daylight savings time changes. Vent all combustion appliances. Be fire safe.  

You can make your home more energy efficient and healthy. Check to make sure your HVAC duct system isn’t leaking. Ensure your home is well insulated. Learn about and evaluate your indoor air quailty and search local utility companies (gas and electric) for incentives and cost savings on new or replacement heating and cooling systems. Remember to ventilate moisture using your exhaust fans too.

Protect your family’s health with improved indoor air quality. Change furnace filters each season to reduce indoor allergens and to keep your HVAC system in top performance. Use a programmable thermostat to manage temperatures and keep energy costs in check. Take care of your systems for increased efficiency.

Prepare for emergencies and know what to do. No one ever expects to be part of a major disaster or emergency, but one look at the news tells us
that it’s much better to be prepared. Make sure you have emergency contacts on hand including utility companies. Create an emergency plan, build an emergency kit, or join a response team to support your community, and remember to protect your pets in a disaster. 

Download the Homeowners Manual for insights regarding home retrofits, upgrades or renovations. You’ll find plenty tools to assist.