Prepare your home for winter: The proactive homeowner's guide
1. Amp up your entryway storage
Prepare your home for the overflow of boots, jackets, gloves, scarfs, window scrapers, shovels, more jackets and wet socks. Add storage for organization to make getting ready and returning home a safer and easier process. Here are some affordable and easy to store options that look great in the winter.
2. Stock up on winter supplies
Your house should have the supplies needed to combat a typical winter, as well as resources for emergency situations. Here’s our list of necessities to grab before the winter weather sets in.
- Check the condition of snow shovels. Buy new snow removal tools if needed, and leave them readily available.
- Make sure you have ice scrapers in each car.
- Pick up a bag of ice melt (plant and pet safe ice version, if needed).
- Restock household emergency kits. This list from the Red Cross provides a comprehensive guide to creating an emergency preparedness kit for your home and family.
- Restock a simplified emergency kit for each car.
- Buy fuel for equipment and heating needs.
3. Check Safety Devices
Smoke detectors should get new batteries. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher in your home. Expired extinguishers won’t do much good so check the date and make sure it is current.
Just like your smoke detectors, all carbon monoxide detectors should be tested and have their batteries replaced.
4. Defend against drafts
To prepare your home for winter, repair and seal the drafty areas. Over time structural elements can become warped and their deviation from the intended shape may leave undesirable gaps where cold air or critters could sneak in.
With residential properties, weather stripping and caulking are commonly used to prepare your home and stave off whipping winds.
If the area is a fixed, unmoving gap, caulking is a good choice. It’s great for areas where one building material meets another like windows, faucets, and other small cracks. Alternatively, weatherstripping is ideal for moveable joints such as window tracks or door sweeps.
5. inspect and clean heat sources
It’s important to clean your heating units before they are called into action.
Clean your furnace vents to improve efficiency, safety and comfort. Ongoing vent cleanings are recommended throughout the winter; while the furnace is in use.
If you have a fireplace or furnace that uses a chimney, consider cleaning that smokestack out. A little side note; chimney caps are great. Animals seek warmth during the winter and a chimney can be the perfect escape from the cold. Chimney caps are an easy way to prepare your home and prevent unwelcomed house guests.
6. Clean out those gutters
A cornucopia of issues can crop up if your gutters or downspouts have clogs, corrosion or breakage. Safety precautions are a must when cleaning out the exterior drainage fixtures in your home. The heights and tedious nature can pose a challenge for many. If this is the case, don’t hesitate to hire a qualified contractor for the job.
Back-ups and standing water can become an ideal breeding ground for mosquitos and other insects…Insects that aid the spread of serious illnesses and could threaten the health of you and your family.
Drainage issues can also cause property damage from the outside in. Left unattended, issues with gutters and downspouts can create extenisve interior and exterior water damage.
7. Check exterior for repair needs and safety issues
Walk around your property surveying the following features:
- Your Driveway: Extensive cracks, potholes and drainage issues should be addressed.
- The Roof: Any loose, damaged, or missing shingles should be replaced immediately. Moss growth should also be looked into.
- The Foundation: Do you see any cracks or discoloration?
- Walkways: Repair major cracks or breaks in a path.
- Overgrown Trees: Remove dead or diseased branches near your home.
These aspects of your property should be inspected to avoid liability claims or injury to you and your family. Furthermore, your home is an investment and structural issues that sit through the winter time often become exponentially worse.
8. Turn of and store exterior faucets and water outlets
Locate all exterior faucets on your property. Disconnect any hose attachments and store the hose inside. Find the pipe inside your house that leads to your outside faucet. Look along the length of pipe for the safety shut-off valve. Turn the knob, or pull the lever, to the off postion. Go back outside and open the connected faucet to allow remaining water to drain out.
Did you know?!
Water damage from freezing pipes is one of the biggest sources of home damage during winter months. While this is generally a covered claim on your homeowner’s insurance policy, some carriers may consider it preventable if they can prove your negligence, and deny the claim.
We hope this blog helps our clients and community prepare their home responsibly so that you never have to face an uncovered claim.
If you seek year-round guidance that leads to reliable claim coverage, contact us. We will size up your current policy against other options we have access to.