Winter is upon us once again and that means holiday time with our family, hot cocoa and a warm cozy fire, and playing in the snow. While all of that may seem great, it is important to remember that winter also brings with it many hazards around your home. Whether it is a frozen water pipe bursting and flooding your home or basement or an ice dam in your gutter causing water damage to your walls, it is important to know how to protect your home against winter’s dangers.
- Clean out gutters. Clean gutters allow melting snow and ice to flow freely and can prevent ice dams.
- Do not attempt to break ice dams with a hammer or shovel as this can damage your home, contact a contractor right away.
- Repair roof leaks and verify your roof is in good condition to handle heavy snowfall. Ask for tips on how to keep your roof clear of heavy snow.
- Remove any hazards on the ground and around your home that could cause liability issues. Trim the trees around your home and remove dead branches, this will help to prevent damage from debris and broken tree limbs.
- Insulate your walls and attics and weatherproof any doors and windows. Proper insulation can help to prevent snow and ice buildup, collapsing roofs, and the loss of heat and energy.
- Be prepared with shovels, ice rakes, and ice melt to remove snow and ice from your premises.
- Know how to shut off your water in the event your pipes do freeze. Shutting off the water immediately in the event of a freeze can help to prevent pipes from bursting.
- Check pipes for cracks and leaks, if you find any make their repair a priority.
- Wrap water pipes in your basement or crawl space in insulation sleeves and consider an insulated blanket for your hot water heater.
- Always keep temperatures above 65 degrees.
- Disconnect and drain any outside hoses.
- Shut off any outside water valves if possible.
- Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces.
- Have your chimney and fireplace inspected and cleaned to ensure it is safe to use for the winter season.
- Cover your chimney with a mesh screen spark arrester and use fire-resistant materials on walls around wood stoves. Clean the area around the fireplace or wood stove of any hazards. This will help to prevent a home fire from sparking.
- Only use space heaters with safety features such as auto shut off and make sure to turn off all space heaters when you leave the room or home.
- Maintain a three-foot radius of free space around heaters and never use a space heater near flammable materials.
- Never leave candles unattended and only burn candles on a non-combustible surface such as ceramic or glass.
- Ensure that your furniture isn’t blocking any heating vents inside your home.
Most importantly, make sure that your insurance coverage is up to date and able to handle any potential risks that winter may bring your way. Speak with an insurance agent about flood insurance to cover the damage that can be caused by melting snow and ice. Discuss what all coverages your homeowner’s insurance provides and make sure that your current coverage limits can handle the adequate repair or rebuild in the market. You should also keep an itemized list of your property to help insurance adjusters finalize claims in a timely manner. The weather outside may be frightful but ensuring that your home is protected is delightful. Give Gannon Associates Insurance a call at 844-GANNONS and ask to speak with one of our agents today!