Winterizing your home eliminates many inconveniences caused by weather-related losses. To minimize potential risks due to cold and freezing temperatures, follow these easy, do-it-yourself tips:
1. Maintain gutters. Remove leaves, sticks and other debris from gutters so any ice can flow freely. This can prevent ice dams from forming, which can push melting water under the roofing and into your attic.
2. Trim trees and remove dead branches. Ice and wind can cause weak trees or branches to break and cause damage to your home or car.
3. Keep your house warm. Identify areas of your home that are not protected from cold weather. During freezing weather, the temperature in your home should be at least 65 degrees. The air inside the walls where pipes are located is substantially colder than the walls themselves. A room temperature below 65 degrees may not keep pipes from freezing.
4. Repair broken windows. Seal openings near windows and doors.
5. Maintain pipes. Wrap pipes with pipe insulation or heating tape and insulate unfinished rooms such as garages that have exposed pipes. Also, check for cracks and leaks. Repair them immediately to prevent much costlier repairs. (Read our latest article on how to keep your pipes from freezing.)
6. Get to know your plumbing. Learn how to shut off the water and know where your home’s pipes are located. If pipes freeze, you may be able to prevent the pipes from bursting by taking immediate action. Quickly shut off the water and direct your plumber to the problem.
Homeowners should review their insurance policies to be sure what coverage they have in place. Homeowners should contact their agent with any questions about their coverage or to purchase a separate flood insurance policy.