Here in Idaho, we are approaching deep winter. This means a much higher risk of winter storms occurring. If your home gets damaged in a blizzard or other winter storm, then your homeowners insurance is likely to cover the necessary repairs. However, you still don’t want damage to happen in the first place. There are many liabilities that might beckon during winter storms, and it’s up to you to protect your property and family as best you can.
Here at Buck Group, we’re not only committed to insurance policy management, but also to customer security. We want to help you make your home as secure as possible this winter. Consider some of our recommendations for how you can prepare your home and make yourself safer during bad weather.
Step 1: Check Your Roof and Clean Out Your Gutters
If your roof has damage or has simply aged to the point of needing replacement, then you should make these repairs before the weather gets worse. Normal wear & tear is not covered by home insurance, and you also don’t want to face the risk of a roof collapse just because you didn’t take care of it.
Additionally, clean out all gutters around the home before precipitation. These might be gutters along your roofline, under your home, or drainage ditches that control runoff. If these are full of debris, then they might not let melting snow and ice runoff appropriately. This could expose your home to added damage, or even flooding risks.
Step 2: Clean and Test Your Heaters
All heaters are fire risks. Electric HVAC systems, fireplaces, space heaters and furnaces could all cause fires if they have flaws or are used inappropriately. Have these systems serviced before using them this year, and never place flammable objects near them.
Step 3: Reinforce Your Home’s Seals
As houses settle, the seals around doors, windows and the foundation might become misaligned or damaged. Not only could damaged seals let pests and moisture into the home, but they could also cause you to waste heat and energy because your home doesn’t properly trap it. Make sure your seals are still strong and call a technician if necessary.
Step 4: Wrap Your Pipes
If you have exposed pipes in your home, then these are at risk of freezing during very cold temperatures. The pipes might burst, damage your plumbing and even flood the home. Wrapping these pipes to keep them insulated and exposing them to warm air can help you avoid this risk.
Don’t forget to keep other practical tools on hand. These might include snow shovels, a generator, candles, flashlights, ice melt and many other necessities that you might need. The more prepared you are, the better you will be able to wait out the storm and get on with your life.
FAQ’s About Easy Tips to Prepare Your Home for Winter Weather
What are the essential steps to prepare my home for winter weather?
To prepare your home for winter, ensure your heating system is serviced, insulate pipes to prevent freezing, seal drafts around doors and windows, clean gutters, and check your roof for potential leaks. Additionally, have a reliable backup power source in case of outages.
How can I prevent my pipes from freezing during cold spells?
Prevent pipes from freezing by insulating exposed piping, keeping your home at a consistent temperature, and allowing faucets to drip slightly during extremely cold temperatures to maintain water flow.
Is it necessary to have my heating system serviced every year?
Yes, annual servicing of your heating system by a professional is important to ensure it operates efficiently, safely, and to prevent unexpected breakdowns during winter months.
What can I do to reduce heat loss through windows and doors?
Reduce heat loss by sealing gaps with weather stripping or caulk, installing insulated curtains, and using draft stoppers. Consider upgrading to double-glazed windows for better insulation.
Why is cleaning gutters important before winter?
Clean gutters prevent water buildup, which can lead to ice dams and potential damage to your roof and home structure when temperatures drop.
How do I know if my roof is ready for winter weather?
Inspect your roof for missing, damaged, or loose shingles and check the flashing around chimneys and vents. Make repairs as necessary to prevent water damage from snow and ice.
What should I include in my home emergency kit for winter storms?
Your winter emergency kit should include a flashlight, batteries, a first-aid kit, non-perishable food, water, warm clothing, blankets, a radio, and any necessary medications.
How can I ensure my home stays warm if the power goes out?
If the power goes out, keep doors closed to unused rooms, layer clothing, use extra blankets, and close curtains to retain heat. Consider a backup generator or wood stove as alternative heat sources.
What are the signs of an ice dam on my roof, and how can I address it?
Signs of an ice dam include icicles along the eaves, water stains on ceilings, and ice buildup at the roof’s edge. To address ice dams, safely remove snow from the roof after storms, improve attic insulation, and ensure proper attic ventilation to minimize heat rising to the roof.
Can smart home technology help in winterizing my home?
Yes, smart home technology such as programmable thermostats can help maintain optimal temperatures and reduce energy costs. Smart sensors can detect water leaks or low temperatures, alerting you to potential issues before they become serious problems.