Winter Considerations for Homeowners
No matter where you live, the coming months mean colder weather and, in many cases, snow and ice. In fact, during the harshest winters almost every state—49 out of 50—receives some amount of snowfall.
With that in mind, taking steps to prepare your home for winter now can help you save money on energy and keep your home safer inside and out.
Seal gaps in your windows and doors.
Have you ever sat by a window and felt a noticeable chill? Weather-stripping, or sealing the gaps in your windows and doors, can cut down on the amount of cold air that seeps through. It may also save you up to 15 percent on your energy bills. This is an easy project you can do yourself in a few hours. There are many different types of materials you can use, from felt to foam strips, and most hardware stores carry them.
You can also help keep hot air in and cold air out by installing draft guards under doors. Buy a specialized draft guard, or simply roll up a towel or blanket and put it under the door.
Get your heater checked.
Be proactive and contact a certified technician to conduct an inspection of your heater before you start relying on it every day. This can help you address potential problems before the weather gets even colder. While you’re at it, change the filters in your heater. This can help improve energy usage as well as air quality in your home.
Service your winter tools and equipment.
Tools like snow blowers, snow shovels, and ice melt can be lifesavers during cold and snowy weather, but only if they’re working properly. Check all of your winter equipment, and replace or repair any items that are worn or not functioning. Stock up on ice melt or salt for the front walk and stairs to help prevent slips and falls while coming and going.
Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Because of the increase in heat and generator use, winter months often pose an increased risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. This type of poisoning is deadly and particularly dangerous because it is odorless and colorless. Make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors in your home, and ensure that space heaters, gas ranges, and generators are properly ventilated.
The winter months are also the leading time of year for house fires. Fireplaces, cooking, holiday decorations, and faulty wiring of heating can all mean more risk for fire. Always be careful when lighting fires in the home, and keep smoke detectors and fire extinguishers nearby.
Check the roof.
Any leaks in the roof, loose shingles, or damaged patches should be repaired before heavy snow or freezing rain begin. If you have a yard with tall trees, trim any branches that could fall on your home or garage under heavy snow or ice.
Don’t forget your pets.
If you keep animals or pets outside, bring them into your home or garage when freezing temperatures hit. Always make sure animals have adequate access to warm, covered shelter with blankets or hay for insulation, and check frequently to ensure their water and food is not frozen. If your pet sleeps in the garage, make sure all antifreeze, poisonous liquids, and cords are kept out of reach.
Review your homeowner’s policy.
Even the most careful and prepared homeowners can’t escape all of the potential accident or damage that result from cold temperatures and heavy snow and ice. If you haven’t checked your policy in awhile, give us a call today. We can help you make sure your home and belonging are covered no matter what happens.