Brooks, Todd & McNeil Agency Blog

Prepare Your Home for Winter and Avoid Costly Home Insurance Claims, and More

Cold weather, ice, snow and wind can all wreak havoc on your home. Every homeowner must prepare his or her home for winter in order to avoid costly damage and reduce the chance of having to file a home insurance claim.

But first, as all homeowners know all too well, it is no secret that your energy costs can rise during the cooler months. Switching the lights on earlier in the evenings, and using electric heaters can all cause your electricity bills to soar and therefore the winter is an excellent time to review your current home energy plan to make sure that you are not paying too much for your power.

For now though, consider taking on these simple tasks to complete your winter home preparation checklist.

  • Check windows and doors for leaks that can impact the efficiency of your home heating system. Look closely at window frames and doorframes for cracks, or feel for cool air or drafts.
  • If you find leaks or cracks, seal them with caulk, weather stripping or door sweeps. You can also purchase a plastic sheeting kit to better insulate your windows.
  • If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, consider having one installed this year.
  • Inspect your heating ducts and vents and clear away any debris or dust that has collected during the warmer months. Consider arranging an HVAC specialist to service your HVAC system. If your heating system is particularly old, you may even want to invest in a new one.
  • If possible, replace aged windows and doors with newer, energy efficient ones.
  • Have a professional tune your furnace. Professional service can help to reduce temperature variations, improve air quality and protect you and your family from dangerous carbon monoxide levels.
  • Before the cold sets in, have your chimney checked by a professional and cleaned if needed.
  • Close your fireplace damper tightly to avoid drafts.
  • Clean out your fireplace before lighting the first fire of the season.
  • Inspect and clean your gutters several times in the fall and before the cold weather. This is especially important if you have a lot of trees in your yard.
  • Be sure all gutters and downspouts direct water away from the foundation of your home and away from walkways and driveways to avoid icing.
  • Check for cracked, missing or broken roof shingles. In addition, look for signs of sagging or shingles that have curled.
  • Autumn and winter can be wet, and you need to make sure your sump pump is in good working order. Check it regularly all winter long.

Many of these tasks may seem simple, but they can go a long way toward preventing damage to your home during winter. What else do you do to prepare your home or yard for the long, cold winter months ahead?

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