Damage from cold and severe weather is the source of many homeowner’s insurance claims each year, but most of it can be avoided with a little foresight and preparation. So what should I do to prepare my house for winter, you may ask? Here are a few ways you can prepare to protect your home this winter.
Safety Tips To Protect Your Home This Winter
- Prepare your furnace – Ensuring you have a safe and reliable furnace opens in a new window is the first order of business. If it goes out you’re left out in the cold and a malfunctioning unit can be a danger to health and life. It pays to have a professional come out to do a thorough inspection. Make sure you have a stock of filters on hand so you can do a monthly replacement.
- Get your fireplace ready – If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace as a secondary source of heat, consider having the chimney swept to remove dangerous creosote buildup. Make sure you have a chimney cap in place to keep out birds and other pests and inspect the flue for proper operation.
- Check your doors and windows – Look for any open spaces and cracks where cold air can enter and valuable warm air escape. Change out your screens with the glass weather panes. Consider installing weather stripping around your doors. Just a little preparation here can save you big on your heating bill.
- Inspect your roof, gutters, and downspouts – Check for any loose or missing shingles that could allow water to leak into your home, and check the flashing around your chimney. Clean out your gutters and use your hose to ensure that the gutters and downspouts are free of debris that could cause water to build up and freeze.
- Prepare your plumbing – Damage caused by water line freeze-ups is one of the top causes of claims on homeowner’s insurance in NJ. Install water pipe insulation around those exposed to the cold. Drain and store all hoses. Make sure you know where the main water turns off is in case of an emergency.
- Inspect your smoke detectors – Especially if you have a fireplace you plan to use, make sure your smoke detectors are in good working order. It’s a good idea to install carbon monoxide detectors near your furnace and water heater. Make sure you have extra batteries on hand.
- Clear your foundations – Rake away all the leaves and debris from your foundation and look for places that rodents and pests trying to escape the cold can enter your home. Take steps to seal them up.
- Prepare an emergency kit – Get ready for a power outage by having candles, matches, and spare batteries stored in a convenient place. Buy some cases of bottled water and enough food to last for a week or two, including pet food if needed. A hand-powered flashlight and radio can prove invaluable in an emergency. Make sure you have enough medications on hand to last during an extended stay at home.
- Make a winter safety checklist to ensure all the above is completed and anything else you think of.
- Make sure your furnace and fireplace are safe.
- Have an emergency kit on hand.