Monday, October 20, 2014

How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

By: Edward L. Blais, JD, CIC

Now that temperatures have begun to drop, your home requires extra maintenance to handle all that Winter can bring.  As colder days and harsh snowfalls journey northeast, it’s important that your home is properly “winterized” to survive the season.

Follow these five simple tips to ensure that your home is ten steps ahead of this year’s winter weather conditions:

1.     Clean your gutters: During Fall, leaves and other debris tend to accumulate in your gutters and will prevent them from performing properly.  Instead, excess rain water will pour out over the sides of the gutter, causing damage to the siding of your home and landscape. In addition, water that is trapped in clogged gutters can freeze in the winter, causing ice dams and damage to your gutters and roof. Learn how to properly clean your gutters here.

2.     Prepare your fireplace: If your chimney hasn’t been cleaned for some time, call a professional to remove the soot and creosote in order to prevent fires.  Also, cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and help stop birds from forming nests. If your fireplace runs on burning wood, purchase it ahead of time and store it in a dry place.

3.     Inspect and fix the exterior: Search around the outside of your home for any cracks or exposed entry points. Use weather-stripping around any doors or windows that might allow cold air to enter the home – this will save you money on heating bills. 

4.     Prevent plumbing freezes: Before they get buried in snow, drain all garden hoses around your home.  Be sure to insulate any exposed plumbing pipes to avoid bursts and inspect them for any damage.  If you go on vacation, be sure to leave your heat on and set it to at least 55 degrees.  Lastly, if you have an underground lawn sprinkler system, remember to blow out all the excess air and water to prevent damage.

5.     Check your heating system: Perform a survey of your home’s heating vents and check to see that they are not blocked or covered by anything (furniture, carpeting, etc).  Dust all of your vents and clean or replace any filters that appear damaged or dirty.  You can also call a professional to ensure your HVAC system is working properly and won’t cause any damage to your home.

Blais Insurance can offer you additional tips and services when preparing your home for winter.  Call us at 725-0070 to see what other measures you should take and to review your current homeowner’s policy to ensure your property is safe and protected for all seasons.

Information for this article provided by: Winterizing Your Home and How Often Should My Gutters Be Cleaned?