Abram Interstate Insurance Services, Inc., CMGA

Helping Independent Insurance Agents Since 1996

Winter Preparation for your Home – tips for Homeowners Insurance Customers

Published on December 17, 2013

Attention Insurance Agents!  Help your insureds and potential insured prepare their homes to avoid loss in the winter this year. Also, as you find potential customers that need Homeowners Insurance we can help!

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Many of our homeowners and Dwelling fire policies qualify for our Incentive Program through Dec. 31!

 

EXTERIOR OF YOUR HOME

Content from http://www.agordon.com/blog/bid/74569/Winter-Preparation-Interior-of-the-Home

Drains

Proper drainage in your gutters is very important to your home during the winter.  Backed up gutters can result in flooding basements and other severe damage when snow & rain water cannot make their way correctly to the ground.  Before first snow and/or hard rain, all gutters should be checked for debris and cleaned out with a hose.

Trees

All trees should be inspected for weak limbs.  Snow and ice build up on weak limbs may cause the limb to crack and fall from the tree, damaging anything underneath including your roof, shed, or garage.  All tree limbs that are overhanging your driveway or incoming power lines should also be cut.

Water connections

All water connections on the outside of the house should be drained and closed tightly.  If not done correctly, the water pipe leading into the house may freeze and crack, rendering it useless and expensive to fix next spring.  All hoses and sprinklers should also be drained, coiled, and put away.

The Lawn

Winterizing your lawn is an important step so you do not have to spend additional money next spring putting the lawn back together.  All leaves, acorns, and twigs should be raked.  If left in place, this debris will smother the grass and not allow air to get to the soil. The grass should be cut until first frost.  Applying proper fertilizer to the lawn before first frost, preferably after a cut, is important as it will keep the grass healthy and strong throughout the winter, making it more likely to thrive next spring.  Any shrubs that are overgrown should be cut back, allowing them to withstand heavy snow.

Furniture

Finally, any outdoor patio furniture and décor should be cleaned and put away to prevent them from winter damage. All pools should be properly drained and covered.

(Newsnet5 gives a few tips, too).

INTERIOR OF YOUR HOME

The Furnace

The furnace needs to be examined for any issues before you turn it on for the first time.  If you are using oil, make sure the oil tank is full.  If you use natural gas, make sure the gas line coming into the house is properly open.  Make sure the pilot is properly lit.  Clear any debris from around the furnace and boilers that could become flammable.Home Safety Counciloutlines other heating method safety tips.

Insulation

Once the furnace has been inspected, it’s time to make sure the house is sealed up to successfully contain the heat.  Now is the time to take out any fans or air conditioners that are in any windows.  Check all the windows and make sure they are closed and have no cracks or holes.  Be sure to check any basement or bulkhead doors that may have drafts and properly seal them.

Thermostat

In order to get the most efficient use out of your heating system, a smart thermostat is a must.  These programmable thermostats can be set to a daily schedule to keep the house warm when it is occupied, and to be turned off during hours that no one is home or sleeping under warm covers.

Carbon Monoxide Warning

Finally, before you turn on the heat in your house, it is wise to install a carbon monoxide detector near the furnace.  If the furnace is not working properly, it may leak poisonous amounts of carbon monoxide into the house, making for a dangerous situation. Since carbon monoxide has no odor, it is essentially impossible to identify without a detector. Many carbon monoxide detectors are cheap and can be plugged into an electrical outlet.

Turn on the Heat

Once you follow these steps, you are ready to turn on the heat and enjoy a warm and cozy winter.  If you are unsure on any of these steps, you can contact a professional plumber who can perform a routine maintenance checkup on the furnace for you, ensuring it is properly running. You can always check Home Depot for more home safety tips.

FEMAhas more winter storm tips as well.

 

To Quote a Homeowners Insurance Policy click HERE