By: Advocate Brokerage
Fall is near and winter looming not far behind. This means it’s time to get our homes ready for the season. Beyond setting out the mums and carving the pumpkins, there are many things you can do to get your home in top shape before the leaves begin to fall.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
Inspect your windows and doors. Look for any cracks or gaps around the frames. If you find gaps, caulk or weatherstripping can help fill them up tight. Not only does this keep creeping, crawling critters from entering your home, but having properly sealed windows and doors keeps your utility bills in check.
Drain the outdoor faucets and sprinkler system. Draining your outdoor faucets will prevent water from freezing inside the pipes, which can cause them to burst. To drain your faucets, turn off the main water supply valve to your home, and then turn the faucets on full blast until the water stops. This gets rid of excess water and built-up debris. Similarly, you should turn your outdoor sprinkler system before the first freeze. You’ll want to drain these as well, or call in a professional to thoroughly winterize your irrigation system to keep it from experiencing damage caused by freezing.
Clean the gutters. Clogged gutters are one of the worst things you can have on your home throughout the cold winter weather. Have the gutters and downspouts cleaned to prevent water from backing up and overflowing onto your foundation or, worse, into your walls.
Service the automatic generator. If you own an automatic generator, it will keep your home warm and the lights on in case of an unexpected power outage. We recommend that you maintain a service contract with a specialist. If not, inspect it once each year at the change of season between summer and fall. Begin by checking the battery and charge level. You’ll also want to confirm that there are no fuel leaks and that it has clean oil. Rectify any issues before the first freeze of the season.
Trim low-hanging branches. Low-hanging branches put your home at risk during storms or times of heavy ice. It’s also wise to remove any dead or dying branches to reduce the risk of these causing damage in bad weather.
Check your smoke detectors. Your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are your home and family’s first line of defense against fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. Test them at the turn of every season.
Prepare the fireplace. If you don’t have a chimney sweep on speed dial, it’s time to find a fireplace safety partner. Having your fireplace properly cleaned and serviced each year will help to ensure that dreams of your cozy winter nights don’t go up in flames.
Service your HVAC system. One of the most important things you can do when cold weather begins to creep in for the season is to have your HVAC system working properly and efficiently. A professional can also clean and inspect your system and all of its components to prevent potentially costly problems from happening.
Stock up on salt or sand. While you can’t prevent ice storms and frozen walkways, you can keep yourself and your guests safe by using ice melt or sand to provide traction.
These are just a few ways to make sure that your home is safe and sound throughout the winter season. Remember, a few simple steps now can help keep your family, home, and assets safe.
Need more advice? Give us a call. We are always available to help our clients make their homes the safe havens they deserve and to answer any questions regarding home, auto, or commercial insurance.