Don’t let cold temperatures, blustery winds, snow or ice catch you and your home off guard. Small preventative measures you take today can help keep you safe and save major repair costs down the road.
Looking for winter weather tips to bundle up your home for safety this season? Follow these tips before bad weather hits, when it’s in the forecast, and after storms clear.
Before the winter weather…
Check your heating system. As you get ready to turn up the temperature on your thermostat, there are a few checks to go through to make sure your heating system is safe all season long. Start by clearing out any trash, drawers, or debris from your oven and air vents. Follow these steps to ensure your furnace is in good condition and will work when needed. And if you feel like you could use an expert opinion or another set of hands, call a professional to come out.
Take care of branches and external hazards. Snow and ice can add pounds of weight to the trees around your property. Keep an eye out during the winter months for any low-hanging branches, especially after snow storms. These can break off and cause damage to your house or your neighbor̵7;s house, and cause injury to others. Trim them back safely when needed or seek professional help if you don’t feel comfortable.
Make sure your detectors are working. To block out the windy weather, we keep our homes fairly closed during the winter season. This lack of ventilation and increased indoor heating can create drier air in your house that can accelerate fires. In addition to that, closed homes have a greater likelihood of gas build-up such as carbon monoxide. Give your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors new batteries and run tests to see if they are working properly.
Find out if the heat is coming out of your home. With a lot of heat usage, it’s a good idea to make sure the heat doesn’t escape from your home, increasing electricity costs. Do a thorough search of your home. Check doors or windows for possible air leaks or drafts. If you feel cold air coming in, it means your warm air is also going out. Fill these gaps with caulk indoors or add weather stripping. Additionally, check pipes and valves for any problems.
Stock up on bad storms. Even if severe winter storms aren’t common in your area, it’s important to be prepared for the worst. Just a few inches of snow or a layer of ice can shut down towns that aren’t used to bad weather and can make trips to the store a challenge. For any home, it is a good practice to have a variety of non-perishable foods such as canned goods and bottled water. Batteries, candles, flashlights and blankets are also good in case of power outages. It’s also important to have extra fuel on hand for your generator or snow blower. Create an emergency kit for the back seat or trunk of your car in case of any problems or unplanned stops on the roads.
During the winter weather…
Keep an eye on the forecast. If bad weather will continue for a few days, try to avoid being outdoors or on the roads as much as possible. Use your supplies and stay safe and warm inside.
Quickly clear snow and ice. New, powdery snow is the easiest to clear. Get out early if it’s safe to start clearing the success, driveway, sidewalk and roof to prevent ice dams. You may have to shovel more often, but shoveling early can be less strenuous than shoveling packed, icy snow hours later. Use deicing products to melt ice to prevent slips and falls. It is also important to clear snow from your home’s furnace or exhaust vent.
Check in with loved ones and neighbors. Do you have a family member or neighbor who lives alone or cannot take care of themselves during the winter weather? Reach out a hand if possible. Offer to clear or freeze their property. Bring extra food or a hot meal so they can stay safe inside. If they have to make it to a meeting or other location, offer to drive them if you feel comfortable driving under the conditions.
After the winter weather…
Assess property damage. As the inclement weather rolls in, do a review of the interior and exterior of your property. Have limbs fallen? Has the shingles blown off? Is your oven not working at its best? Document these observations and losses and begin considering repairs.
Tends to repairs. For some damages, such as downed limbs on your home or electrical lines, you may need to contact your insurance agent or utility company. For other damages, you may need to make a claim. Talk to your agent and make sure you have receipts for repairs.
The cold can come quickly and take you by surprise. But implementing these winter weather tips before, during and after storms can make a difference in your home safety…and your budget. Looking for even more protection this season? Talk to a local, independent agent about our comprehensive home coverage.