Unless you are an avid outdoors person, snowmobiler, or ice fisherman, winter is probably not your favorite season. This is why now is the perfect time to take a close look around the house since winter is no friend of an unprepared building.
Last year was a long and brutal winter for many in the Midwest. A few precautionary steps now can lead to a lot fewer cold-weather problems come the first consistent freeze and snowfall. Taking steps to prevent damage now makes for a much quicker spring cleanup.
Gutters and downspouts serve a great purpose in removing water from our homes. They also are excellent in catching debris and getting clogged as leaves begin to fall. Fall is an excellent time to make sure the gutters are clean and ready to direct the water away from the home and foundation.
Take a close look at your windows and doors. Caulk areas that are showing gaps or where old caulk has dried out and failed. It is a lot easier to add any weather stripping while the temperature is still comfortable.
A change of season is a good time to change out the furnace filter after running the air conditioning throughout the summer. A clean air filter helps the efficiency of the furnace and extends its life. Vacuum out any dirt and debris that may have fallen into the supply vents. This is also a good time to have a professional analyze your heating and cooling system so they can check both at the same time and you can save some money.
Add insulation to any plumbing that is near an outside wall. Make sure to drain any outside spigots to prevent frozen pipes and major water damage.
If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, get your chimney checked and cleaned if needed. A winter fire should not be on you must-do list this winter. Make sure your agent is aware of any wood-burning appliance in your home. Your insurance coverage could be in jeopardy if this has not been disclosed.
Inspect any trees that may have damaged or dying branches. If these are anywhere close to the home, get them removed to prevent them from falling on the roof. If they are near power lines, contact your utility company to create an adequate space for the lines to be unaffected by heavy, ice-ridden branches. If you do not like being left out in the cold, neither do insects and rodents. Take a close look around your property, and seal up any small cracks and crevices that would allow critters to gain access.
Taking these few steps now should allow you to concentrate on the important things of winter … like when spring will arrive.
Regional Claim Manager