Inside and Out: Tips to Prepare Your Home for Winter


 

As a homeowner, now is the time to start thinking about the potentially devastating consequences of a winter season defined by ice, snow and wind. Grillo Insurance’s exclusive tips to prepare for winter put you one step ahead of the elements. Follow our guide to gear up for winter inside and outside of your home.

Outside Your Home

Give a damn about ice dams.

Ice dams leave melting snow and ice with no place to go but under your roof – causing water to seep into the house and drip from ceilings and walls. Your greatest defense against ice dams? Clean gutters. On the brink of harsh winter weather, remove leaves, sticks and other debris from gutters so melting snow and ice can flow freely. Install gutter guards to keep water flowing away from the house and into the ground – and to prevent debris from entering the gutters in the first place.

Put the seal on climate comfort.

Keep cold air (and moisture) from entering your home – and warm air from leaving – by sealing cracks, holes and openings in outside walls and foundations. Install weather stripping around windows and doors as a second defense against cold climates.

Be dead set against dead branches.

Weak trees and branches break in the icy, snowy and windy months of winter. Protect your home, car and property from damage – and your loved ones from injury – by trimming trees and removing dead branches.

Take an extra step towards safety.

Snow and ice make broken steps and banisters even more dangerous. Repair all steps and handrails to prevent a potentially lethal accident.

Inside Your Home

Set it – and don’t forget it.

The thermostat, that is. Remember, the temperature is always colder inside the walls (where pipes are located). Pipes are especially vulnerable to cold temperatures in the winter – and frozen pipes can spell disaster. Set the thermostat for 65 degrees or higher to keep the house warm – and the pipes functional.

It’s great to insulate.

It’s a vicious cycle. Heat escapes the attic, snow or ice melts on the roof, water re-freezes and more snow builds up – causing an ice dam and the potential for significant roof damage. It’s a serious problem you can nip in the bud with extra insulation. Extra insulation in attics, basements and crawl spaces protects against ice dams and frozen pipes. Consider insulating unfinished rooms like garages, too, for extra protection against the elements.

Power up your backup plan.

A reliable backup power source ensures continuous power to warm your home and prevent pipes from freezing. Invest in a portable generator and battery operated sump-pump to hold down the fort until the power kicks back on.

Give heating systems an annual checkup.

Furnaces, boilers and chimneys all require service once a year to prevent fire and smoke damage. Get in touch with a specialist to keep your heating systems in check.

Check the pipes.

Cracked and leaky pipes require immediate attention and repair. Look closely for cracks and leaks – and waste no time patching them up. Protect pipes in attics and crawl spaces with insulation (fiberglass or foam sleeves) or heat (heating cables and tapes).

Handle the pressure.

Frozen pipes can easily burst. Protect against increased pressure from freezing pipes by installing an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system.

Too hot to handle.

Always keep combustible items away from heat sources – including wood stoves and space heaters.

Be alert to danger.

Both residential fires and carbon monoxide poisoning are more common in the winter. Install (and test) smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to keep your home and loved ones safe.

Know your pipes.

Time is of the essence when pipes freeze – and pipes can burst at any moment. Always know the exact location of your pipes – including how to shut the water off. Knowing your pipes is critical whether you’re fixing it yourself or directing a plumber to the problem.

Hire a licensed contractor.

Repair all damage now – before the winter hits. Ask a licensed contractor about more ways to prevent water damage throughout your home.

Protect Your Home

Unfortunately, only nature can decide how hard the winter hits your home. As your biggest asset, it’s important to have your home properly protected. Get a home insurance quote from Grillo Insurance today – and protect your home from the many perils of the cold winter months.