Winter safety tips for homeowners and renters
With the winter season comes cold weather and snow, making the scenery picturesque and peaceful. It̵7;s great fun for kids when they go outside to play, but for homeowners, snow can be a real hassle. Snow and ice can cause devastating damage to both the inside and outside of your home, as can things like carbon monoxide poisoning and fires. The good news is that you can take steps to protect your home during these winter storms, cold weather and freezing temperatures. We’ve put together a short guide to get you started and ready for winter. If you have any questions, contact our office at 413.475.7283 or fill out our quote form online today!
Prepare your pipes for winter!
One of the main causes of damage to homes during the winter is damage to the home from pipes that burst when the water freezes. When pipes burst in your home, it can suffer devastating damage from large amounts of water flowing into the home’s foundation. However, there are several things you can do to prevent pipes from bursting. Follow these steps to prevent this type of injury.
- First of all, to prevent damage from burst water lines, you should make sure you keep your home at a temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
- If you turn on the faucet and notice that there is either no water or very little, it is highly likely that you have a frozen pipe. You can manage this problem by identifying the pipe and thawing it if it is easily accessible using measures such as a hair dryer, heater or electrical tape.
- Make sure the pipes are well insulated with foam protection. During periods of extreme cold, open the faucets to allow water to flow through the pipes
Inspect your roof
To prevent damage to your home, you should have your roof inspected before the first snowfall. You need to be aware of any damage, such as loose or broken shingles that are susceptible to storms and melting snow. Pay attention to chimneys and make sure they are tight and in good condition. If there are small repairs that need to be done and you are capable, do them, otherwise get a roofer or handyman to do the necessary maintenance. Make sure you remove debris from the roof and gutters that can cause rotting or prevent water from draining away.
Prepare for power outages
In the event of heavy snow storms, power lines can be affected leaving your home not only in the dark but in the freezing cold. It’s best to plan for this eventuality – investing in a generator is an excellent idea. You should also have flashlights and other battery-powered devices to light up your home. Make sure you have plenty of batteries to power these devices. A radio lets you connect to local weather updates. Make sure the radio runs on batteries or solar power. Another handy device to have is a solar cell phone charger so you can check on friends and family and weather information.
Check outdoor lighting
Before winter sets in, do a check to see that all your outdoor lighting is working. When it’s dark and there’s ice on the paths to your home, falls can all too often happen. Change light bulbs to ensure they last through the winter months. You can save money by having lighting with sensors or you can buy bulbs that are powered from your smartphone.
Remove icicles and ponds
It can be fun to watch icicles form around the outside of your home, but they can be deadly and cause damage. Remove any icicles safely by wearing safety glasses and a helmet. If it is not safe for you to do so and the icicles that have formed are large or high up, contact a professional. Always warn children to stay away from icicles.
Ice dams occur when the insulation in the attic is poor or when there are ice leaks. Again, it is best to hire a professional who can identify such problems. Always warn children to stay away from icicles.
Clear driveways and sidewalks
Side roads and driveways can be treacherous when covered with ice from melted snow and slippery snow. You can keep your family safer from falls by having snow shovels on hand. Clear a path that your family can use to make access to your home safer. Using a snow blower is also an option. Remember to follow this step by using rock salt which will melt away any ice that will form on the frozen ground. If you have a large driveway and it can take a while to clear paths, prevent frostbite by wearing protective clothing, including boots, hats and gloves.
During the winter months, your family is at risk of illness because bacteria can easily develop when your family is cooped up at home. Once a family member has contracted a virus, it can easily spread to the whole family. You can take steps to prevent an outbreak by keeping your home a little less warm so bacteria can’t thrive. Lowering the thermostat about five degrees can also reduce the risk of infection as well as save money.
Most insurance claims are made during the winter months and spring. In the event that your property is damaged, you should take steps to ensure that you are covered. Read your insurance documents and be on the lookout for conditions related to burst pipes and basement flooding. If you are not covered, you should update your insurance or change insurance companies.
You should have the details to hand and know where your insurance documents are stored in a safe place. Keep the insurer’s contact details on your smartphone. When you make new purchases, it’s a good idea to keep receipts so that, should you need to make a claim, you have all the evidence you need to process your claim faster.
Talk to one of our agents to update and make sure you have the right coverage for your needs. Encharter Insurance is an independent insurance agent which means we can provide coverage from many insurance companies so you get the home insurance for your budget and needs! You can reach us at (413) 475-7283 or online at https://www.encharter.com/personal-insurance/home-insurance/.