As Halloween approaches and the temperature cools there is excitement in the air as autumn is fully underway. Trick-or-Treaters aren’t the only thing you should prepare for as we approach the winter months. Make sure your Pennsylvania home is protected from the harsh winter conditions.
List Of Ways To Protect Your Home This Winter
The list below covers a variety of actions you should take to care for your home and protect your investment.
1. Seal Up Your Home For Winter
It might sound obvious to close your windows, but have you checked you basement windows or the shed’s window? Remove external air conditioners and be sure to inspect your windows afterward. Damage to your window could lead to a large amount of heat leaking from your home and a high energy bill. Check that all potential openings are sealed.
2. Prep Home Heat Sources For The Cold
However you heat your home, you will need to prepare it for the winter. Below are a few common heating sources and how you should prepare them for winter:
- Wood Stove: If you have a wood stove it is important to have wood prepared for the coming months. Additionally you should consider cleaning your chimney. Chimney buildup can catch fire and lead to a house fire.
- Coal Stove: Order your coal and make sure the system is cleaned and maintained for the upcoming winter.
- Home Heating Oil: Order your oil and make sure you have a full tank to keep your house warm through the winter.
- Electric Heat: Save up a lot of money for a few months of expensive electricity bills.
- Pellet Stove: Stock up on pellets and get your pellet stove serviced and cleaned before the cold hits.
3. Clear Drainage Systems
Cleaning out drainage areas is vital to protecting your home from flooding when the temperature drops below freezing. Ice dams blocking water from exiting your home can lead to a backup of water. If your sump pump has an external output make sure nothing is blocking the water. If there is a blockage or build-up, your sump pump could break and lead to your basement flooding. Protect your home from flooding.
4. Clear Gutters Of Leaves
Ice dams aren’t restricted to the ground and the drain on the road. If your gutters are blocked up it will lead to ice dams. When your gutters freeze it will lead to a backup of ice. This causes two things:
- First, your gutters will be weighed down by the ice build-up. There is a likelihood they will rip off from your overhang. This will damage your facia, the header board, and potentially your siding as it falls. This can lead to your home being open and exposed to the elements which will lead to additional damage to your home.
- Second, if the gutters do not fall, it can lead to a greater build-up of snow on the roof and ice can build up, melt and refreeze. As this progresses and builds up it can lead to water creeping under the shingles and damaging the plywood underneath. While you may survive the winter, you could be replacing a roof that has had its wood rot.
Clearing your gutters is a great way to protect your home from winter damage.
5. Check Your Roof Before The Winter Months
While you are cleaning out the gutters you should check your roof for any damage. If there is any minor damage to your home’s roof there is a way for water to get into your home. It is important to protect your home from water damage, especially water damage during the winter months.
6. Rake Leaves To Prepare For The Winter
Raking your leaves can help to prevent drains from clogging and water build-up to occur on your property. When leaves fill gutters and block water, they cause a blockage that creates a puddle or worse a frozen block of ice, which causes a major driving hazard. While you may have car insurance, you do not want to risk an accident with ice covering the road in front of your home. Prevent an accident by raking your leaves.
7. Winterize External Pipes & Drain Water
Another place that water can come from is through burst water pipes. Prevent burst pipes by turning off external water sources and pipes as well as draining them. If water remains in the outdoor plumbing the water can freeze and burst the pipes.
8. Cut Your Grass One Final Time
Some of you may be sad that you are cutting your grass for the last time this year while others are probably jumping for joy. One of the benefits of cutting your grass late in the season is you will make sure everything is picked up from your yard before the winter months. No toys or tools will be buried under the snow accidentally.
9. Set Rodent Traps In Your Home
As the temperature drops, mice from fields and rodents will start seeking out warmer areas. Depending on the mice, chipmunks, or squirrels your home can undergo quite a bit of damage. From electrical wires being chewed to insulation being removed. Keep your home from getting a rodent infestation by setting traps.
10. Store Your Summer Tools And Get Out The Snow Shovels
Have you ever left a gardening tool or mower outside through the winter? By next summer the tool has double the rust and sometimes it is barely useable. By storing your summer tools in a shed or in the basement you can make sure you are ready for next spring with well-maintained tools.
11. Test Carbon Monoxide & Smoke Detectors
A lot of people overlook checking and testing their carbon monoxide detectors or smoke detectors. It is vital that you make sure your smoke detectors have new batteries in place. During the winter there are more house fires due to open candles and heat source malfunctions. By replacing the batteries in your smoke detectors you can save your family from a house fire.
Additionally, carbon monoxide detectors are especially important. Since your home will be sealed, these detectors can help indicate if your home has become unhealthy. About 50,000 people in the United States visit a hospital due to accidental CO2 poisoning. In total about 450 people die from it each year. These deaths are unexpected and a shock to many families since it is common for people to think they are just sick. Because they feel sick they remain inside with the very CO2 that is poisoning them. It can happen to anyone at any age. Carbon monoxide poison is one of the many reasons life insurance is a wise investment.
Contact Strickler For Home Insurance
Reach out to us for a free insurance quote. Protecting your home starts with home insurance. You can get home insurance coverage that protects your house in the winter and in the summer. Learn more about our services.