Temperatures are dropping, leaves are changing, and you’ll be spending a lot more time indoors. Before curling up with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa, it’s important to make sure your home is prepared. Winterize your home now to save on energy costs and protect against cold weather-related damage.
Give your clients peace of mind this season by sharing this winter preparedness checklist:
- Guard against fire. Place flammable items at a safe distance from any heat source; including space heaters, wood-burning stoves, heating vents, and fireplaces.
- Get an HVAC tune-up. It’s important to change your furnace’s air filter every two months throughout the winter season and have your furnace serviced annually by a licensed HVAC contractor.
- Invest in a home generator. Extreme weather and winter storms can wreak havoc on the power grid and cause outages. No power means no heat. Used responsibly and never indoors, a generator keeps the heat on and your property safe.
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide is invisible, odorless, and deadly. It is more dangerous in the winter when windows and doors are sealed tight to keep out the cold. Install a combination of smoke and CO2 detectors on every floor of the home, in the kitchen, and in every bedroom. Be sure to test them and change the batteries regularly.
- Make sure your plumbing system includes an emergency pressure release valve. A burst pipe is the last thing you want to deal with. Have a professional check the plumbing for cracks and leaks and insulate exterior pipes to prevent freezing.
- Change the direction of your ceiling fan. Ceiling fans aren’t only useful in summer, there is a switch to reverse the direction to create an upward draft pushing the warm air at the ceiling back down to the rest of the room. This allows you to keep the thermostat a little lower and still be comfortable.
- Repair and clean your gutters. Too many leaves can clog gutters and downspouts; causing ice dams to form. Clear everything out, repair or replace gutters where needed and install gutter guards to make sure they stay clean.
- Trim your trees. It’s the perfect time to prune dead branches and remove weak trees that can fall during a storm. Keep up with your landscaping to prevent damage to your home, vehicle, and other personal property.
- Inspect your roof. Flat roofs are especially susceptible to collapse due to significant build-up of snow and ice. Never go on your roof to shovel the snow. Invest in a ladder and a roof rake with a long handle before the storm arrives and then remove the accumulated snow safely.
- Fix exterior driveways, walkways, steps, and railing. Your outdoor surfaces can be seriously damaged by ice, snow, plowing, and shoveling. Repair any cracks and level any uneven areas on walkways, driveways, and steps, and make sure all staircases and railings are in good condition.
- Be prepared to shut off your water. If your pipes freeze, the water inside expands and causes major damage to your pipes. Have tools and know-how to cut the water supply to minimize any damage to your home.
While taking these steps can reduce the risk of winter damage, no amount of preparation can completely safeguard against disaster. Carry proper homeowners’ insurance limits and regularly review your policy to ensure it still meets your needs.
Quaker Special Risk is always here to support our agents and their clients through any situation. You’ll find all our carrier claims information listed conveniently on our website, and we are standing by to assist if winter storms affect your community. Contact one of our underwriters today to find the perfect policy for your client.