Want to keep your home and family as safe as possible this winter? Make sure you take care of things around your home before the winter storms hit. A little maintenance now will save you from potential damage and problems later. Use this checklist to prepare your home for the cold weather ahead and prevent winter damage and insurance claims.
- Clean your gutters. Remove debris, brush off leaves, and make sure gutters and downspouts are clear for water and run-off to move freely.
- Check your drainage. Look in your basement for water stains and your attic for signs of mildew. This indicates water is not being drained away from your home very well. Once your downspouts are clear, you need to extend them further away from your home.
- Test your sump pump. Check for dirt and debris, remove clogs, and make sure it’s pumping water well away from your home. This helps avoid a flooded basement and foundation after a bad winter storm.
- Have your HVAC serviced. Make sure your heating system works all winter long by having it looked over by a professional.
- Prevent ice dams. Ice dams form on the edge of your roof and prevent melting snow from draining. Snow might not be plentiful in Charlotte but if it gets cold enough, an ice dam could form. Keep your roof a uniform temperature to reduce the chance of an ice dam. You can do this by increasing the ventilation and adding insulation in your attic.
- Seal your doors and windows. It’s easy for cold air to whistle through your home — increasing your energy costs and keeping everyone uncomfortable. Add weatherstripping around doors and windows to keep the cold out.
- Weatherproof your exterior pipes. The last thing you want after a bad freeze is a burst pipe. Protect against this by checking your pipes for any weaknesses and replacing parts as needed. Also, wrap your pipes in insulating tape to help prevent freezing.
- Check your fireplace and chimney. If you used your fireplace heavily last winter, make sure to get it cleaned. Also make sure there are no cracks or damage that could present a fire hazard or critters living in your chimney.
- Check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Winter is a time when fires and problems with heating units occur most. You need to be warned when there’s a problem.
- Protect your entryways and yourself. Make sure you have a mat at your entryways to wipe wet feet and that family members and visitors have a place to remove cold weather gear, including wet shoes. This prevents slips and falls on wet floors.
- Trim tree limbs. In a big winter storm, the wind can cause limbs to break off and crash through your roof. If a big snow storm comes through (as rare as it is), you don’t want heavy snow to bring limbs down either.
After you take care of your winter home maintenance, make sure your homeowners insurance policy is current. If you haven’t thought about your policy limits in years, it’s well past time to check your coverage. Contact Charlotte Insurance today to update your information or for a free estimate on a new policy.