Wow, it seems like yesterday I was out on the soccer field watching my daughters play their league games in warm, sunny, 80 to 90-degree weather. Those long days of summer and early fall seemed as if they would never end. I should have known better.
Fast forward less than two months and most of the leaves have fallen from the trees. The sun seems like it is barely out as the days continue to get shorter and shorter. We went from having days in the 80’s and 90’s to waking up to 30-degree mornings. Talk about a shock to the system. For many of us, winter is almost here.
While driving into work today waiting for the car’s heater to take the frost out of the air, I got thinking: Is my home prepared for the winter months to come? That is a great question. When I got to the office, I decided to reach out to my friends at Armed Forces Insurance. I wanted to see what their insurance experts recommend I do at my home so that I don’t have any needless claims or repair bills from any preventable damaged that could be caused by the winter to come. After speaking with them, I wanted to share their tips with you.
Below are some simple steps you can take to make sure your home is protected this winter.
Outside Your House
Clean out gutters. Remove leaves, sticks and other debris from gutters, so melting snow and ice can flow freely. This can prevent ice damming, a condition where water is unable to drain through the gutters and instead seeps into the house causing water to drip from the ceiling and walls.
Trim trees and remove dead branches. Ice, snow and wind could cause weak trees or branches to break and damage your home or car,or injure someone walking by your property.
Repair steps and handrails. This may prevent someone from falling and seriously being injured. Broken stairs and banisters can become lethal when covered with snow and ice.
Seal cracks in holes in outside walls and foundations. Use caulking to protect water pipes and make sure that skylights and other roof openings have proper weather stripping to prevent snowmelt from seeping in.
Inside Your House
Keep the house warm. Set the thermostat for at least 65 degrees at a minimum since the temperature inside the walls, where the pipes are located, is substantially colder a lower temperature will not keep the pipes from freezing.
Reverse Ceiling Fans. Most Ceiling fans have settings to control the direction the blades turn. In the summer, the blades are set to move counterclockwise to help cool the home. In the winter, the blades can be reversed to go in a clockwise motion to help push the warm air that has gathered at the ceiling to come back down into the room.
Add extra insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. If too much heat escapes through the attic, it can cause snow or ice to melt on the roof. Water can then re-freeze, causing more snow and ice to build up. This can result in a collapsed roof, and can contribute to ice damming. Ideally, the attic should be five to 10 degrees warmer than the outside air. Well-insulated basements and crawl spaces will also help protect pipes from freezing. You may also consider insulating unfinished rooms such as garages to keep pipes from freezing.
Have the heating system serviced. Furnaces, boilers and chimneys should be serviced at least once a year to prevent fire and smoke damage. If you’re using an alternative heating source, make sure there is adequate space for installation, maintenance, and replacement.
Make sure that smoke and fire alarms are working properly. Residential fires increase in the winter, so it is important to protect your family with working alarm systems. Also, consider installing a carbon monoxide detector, since a well-sealed home can trap this toxic gas.
Learn how to shut the water off and know where your pipes are located. If your pipes freeze, time is of the essence. The quicker you can shut off the water or direct your plumber to the problem, the better chance you have to prevent pipes from bursting.
Those are just a few tips from Armed Forces Insurance on how to protect you home against anything winter can throw at it. With just a little bit of prevention and home maintenance you can ensure your winter months go by without any unexpected home surprises.
For a more detailed list of tools and resources on protecting your home for the winter and other home protection topics, head over to Armed Forces Insurance – Resources and Tools page to learn how to protect your most valuable possession.
Here’s to a wonderful winter season!
As a military family, you need insurance that matches your needs and protects what you value most. You deserve an insurance company that is committed to serving you. MilHousing Network is proud to partner with Armed Forces Insurance to bring military families reliable homeowner’s insurance options when buying a home. Contact them today at 800-313-1936 or visit www.afi.org/milhousing to learn how they can support your unique military lifestyle.
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