Winter Home Maintenance Hacks to Prevent Claims

Winter Home Maintenance Hacks to Prevent Claims | Property & Casualty

Winter is a beautiful time of year, but this season can be merciless on your home. If you’re not prepared, the chill, ice and snow bring a host of challenges. Equip your home with the ultimate winter defense to conquer the elements and enjoy the season to its fullest.

The Secrets to Winter Home Protection

Winter Surface Care

Hazardous winter conditions can cause accidents and injuries. Stock up on salt, ice melt or sand to enhance traction on slippery surfaces, such as sidewalks, steps and driveways. Ensure these materials are pet-friendly to protect your four-legged friends. These simple supplies will allow you to move confidently without fear of losing your footing.

Tree-Trimming Tips

Your frosty landscape can hide danger from branches weighed down by snow and ice. Survey your property for overhanging tree limbs near the house, garage, driveway or powerlines. While they seem harmless now, the weight of heavy snow and ice could cause breakage and significant damage. Before the winter chill sets in, lace up your boots and grab the pruners.

Light Up the Darkness

As the days grow shorter and the nights become longer, darkness can cloak your home’s exterior with various hazards. Outdoor lighting illuminates walking paths and tripping hazards, such as icy patches and accumulated snow. Strategically placing lights around areas prone to hazards like bushes, stairs or curbs can prevent accidents, especially on dark winter nights. Ensure your exterior lighting fixtures are functioning properly to guarantee safety and security.

Inspect Your Roof & Gutters

While often overlooked, it’s important to pay attention to your roof and gutters. Start by focusing on your gutters as they can become easily clogged with leaves, branches and other debris. Neglecting this task can pave the way for dangerous ice dams and costly damage. Equipped with a sturdy ladder and pair of gloves, you can manually remove large debris and use a hose to flush out the remaining build-up.

Once you’ve taken care of your gutters, don’t overlook the condition of your roof. Inspect for loose or damaged shingles that may need repair or replacement. Examine vents, chimneys and skylights for cracks or gaps where water could seep through. If you’re uncomfortable inspecting, call in professionals who possess the expertise and knowledge to handle the job with ease. This can save you from potentially costly repairs and headaches down the road.          

Call a Chimney Sweep

There’s nothing cozier on a cold winter day than the warmth and comfort of a crackling fire. Unfortunately, considerable dangers are lurking in your chimney. A licensed chimney sweeper has the expertise and skills to examine your chimney for any debris or cracks and can perform a thorough cleaning. A professional chimney inspection can also prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide leaks.

Ensure Cracks are Sealed

Nothing can ruin the serenity of the season like a cold draft sneaking into your home. Stay ahead of the game by thoroughly inspecting and sealing all cracks around your foundation, doors and windows. With its exceptional resistance to harsh weather, exterior silicone caulk is your ultimate weapon in keeping the tiniest crevices securely sealed.

Don’t overlook the condition of your weatherstripping, as it plays a crucial role in preventing heat loss around doorframes and windows. Regularly inspect and replace any worn-out weatherstripping as it leaves your home vulnerable to the cold.

Fortify Faucets & Irrigation Systems

Take the necessary steps to fortify your garden hoses and irrigation systems against freezing temperatures. Before the first frost, drain and store your hoses and sprinklers properly. Any trapped water can freeze and cause pipes to burst. It’s also crucial to shut off the water supply and insulate any pipes that are exposed to the cold, like those along exterior walls or in unheated areas (e.g., crawl space). Wrap outside faucets with a cover. Don’t overlook your interior pipes, as proper insulation, especially in vulnerable areas (e.g., beneath the sink, in attics, exterior walls), can prevent freezing and potential pipe bursts.

Pool-Related Preparedness

Start the pool winterizing process once the temperature consistently drops below 65F. First, remove stubborn debris that accumulated over the summer. Patiently scoop out every bit, ensuring not a single leaf is left behind. Then focus on maintaining the delicate balance of the water chemistry. Testing the pH and adjusting chlorine levels will keep your pool water stable and pristine until spring arrives. Finish with a robust cover that can withstand the weight of snow and battering winds.

Stay Comfortable Inside

Some simple steps can keep the cold out of your home. Begin by investigating your attic as regular inspections and insulation upgrades can create a protective shield. Remember to insulate your walls and crawl spaces as they are prime targets for energy loss. Consider installing glass storm windows to create an additional insulation layer between your windows and chilly air.

Keep Your HVAC in Check

Safeguard your air conditioning system by covering it with plywood to fend off falling icicles and winter debris. Schedule a professional service to ensure that your furnace or heating system remains in peak condition. These experts will inspect every aspect of your heating system to guarantee its performance and safety in freezing temperatures. Regularly replace air filters to maintain clean air and smooth system operations. Consider upgrading your system by installing a programmable unit.

Ensure Proper Functioning Detectors

Smoke and carbon monoxide (CO2) detectors can be lifesavers. Routine maintenance can ensure these devices effectively fulfill their purpose. Remember to regularly test and change the batteries. Also, inspect the date stamp on the back. Most detectors have a lifespan of approximately 10 years, although this can vary based on the model and manufacturer.

Stock Up on Emergency Supplies

Winter weather has a knack for causing power outages and trapping us inside. Fortunately, emergency supplies can keep your family safe. Pack bottled water and nonperishable food to stay nourished. Include a flashlight to navigate through a dark house, preventing unnecessary trips and falls. Accidents can happen and first-aid supplies (e.g., bandages, antiseptic) can help tend to any injuries. Communication is key during an emergency; extra batteries and chargers can restore power and stay connected with the outside world. It’s also wise to stock up on supplies (e.g., salt, sand) for de-icing walkways and driveways. Ensure you have shovels and snow removal equipment ready.

Protect Against Costly Winter-Related Claims

Bitter winds and heavy snowfalls can unleash a flurry of chaos, leaving homeowners to deal with costly damages and repairs. Team up with your insurance advisor to review your homeowners’ policy, ensuring you are adequately covered should an unexpected disaster occur. Don’t find out too late that your policy has expensive coverage exclusions. Each homeowners’ insurance policy is unique and understanding your policy can help to identify potential gaps in coverage and adjust accordingly.

We’re Here to Help Protect Your Home

By following these winter home maintenance tips, you can help ensure a warm, safe and energy-efficient home during the colder seasons. Regular maintenance and preparation can save you money and prevent potential problems that can arise in the winter. For additional home maintenance guidance or insurance solutions, connect with a member of our team

Winter Home Maintenance Hacks to Prevent Claims | Property & Casualty is coming, and your home's fate is at stake. Learn these winter home maintenance secrets to conquer the cold, protect your home and prevent costly claims.2023-11-20T18:00:00-05:00Winter is coming, and your home's fate is at stake. Learn these winter home maintenance secrets to conquer the cold, protect your home and prevent costly claims.Risk MitigationProperty & Casualty InsuranceYes