Ten Actions To Prepare Your Home For Winter

Posted December 3, 2021

Winter is here!  By this point you’ve probably already taken some steps to prepare for the upcoming cold season.  The destructive nature of this season brings a high volume of claims and often the most significant damage.

  • Find Your Water Shut off valve

In the event of a leak, shutting off the water valve can be the easiest and most effective way to prevent further damage.  Everyone in the home who can turn the valve should be shown where it is so in the event of an emergency it is quickly shut off.

  • Add Freeze Alarms, Water Detection Alarms, and/or Automatic Shut-off Devices

A more modern approach to monitor freezing pipes or water leaks is to place small devices near areas that get a little colder or appliance which could leak.  These are typically a smart device which will alert you through an app on your phone if the temperature drops to low or if it gets wet.

A step up from that is a device which is installed near your shut off valve.  There are various options from being alerted by a device above or even smarter ones which learn your regular water usage and will automatically shut the water-off if the water usage is outside of the regular range.

A side benefit to these devices is there may be a discount if you have them installed.  Let us know if you have one or more of the above and we will check to see if your policy is eligible.

  • Test Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Traditional wisdom suggests checking your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when you change the clocks.  This is sound advice but adding a third check during winter doesn’t hurt.  In our area, the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning in the home dramatically increases during the winter.

  • Consider a Generator

Extended periods without power can be significantly difficult.  They are also very hard on your home during the winter and dramatically spike the likelihood of frozen pipes.  If you do lose power during the winter, be sure to put your pipes on a steady drip to help prevent freezing.

Also, it is a good idea to stock up on some emergency supplies which will last through the winter (not thinking “bread and milk” here) such as canned goods (make sure you have manual can opener), snacks, candles, and batteries and flashlights.  A few gallons of water is good to have on hand.  These can also be put into the freezer before a large storm.  If you lose power, they will help extend the colder temperature in the freezer.

  • Have Your Heating System Serviced

Most heating systems should be serviced at least once a year (many will tell you twice).  Not only does this increase the longevity of the equipment but will decrease the likelihood it fails at the most inopportune time.

If you are having a hard time finding someone to service your system, a quick change of the filters will improve the efficiency of the system and can help buy you some time until you can have it professionally serviced.

  • Prepare For Those Cozy Mid-Winter Fires

Call the chimney sweep and test out the dampers.  Also, don’t forget to make that call for your firewood delivery.  Prices aren’t going to be going down!

While you’re thinking about the fireplace, be sure to reverse those ceiling fans blades to clockwise to waft that warm air down to you.

  • Clean Your Gutters

If you are a DIY type of person, get out that ladder and (safety) check and clean out your gutters.  If not, be sure to have a professional come to clean them out.  This will prevent frozen water in the gutters which can greatly increase the odds of an ice dam.

  • Get Your Snow Removal Plan Ready

Pull out the snow blower and rev it up to make sure it works.  Check your shovels and your ice melt supply.  Run out and purchase that roof rake now since you won’t be able to find them come mid-Winter.

OR, make that phone call to your favorite plow or snow removal people.  They probably aren’t answering their phone mid-nor’easter.  Get on their list today!

  • Prepare The Yard

If you have a place to store the patio furniture, kids’ toys, grill, etc., it is time to get them inside.  If not, covering them will help protect them and prevent them from blowing away in a high wind blizzard.

Check your trees for any potential branches which could fall and damage the roof directly or add to the weight sitting on your roof when the snow and ice attach to it.

  • Shut Off Those Outside Spigots

Hopefully by this point you’ve already shut off and drained your sprinkler system.  You should also be attending to the outside spigots.  The valve to the outside spigots should be shut off from inside the house.  If you have a drain valve, you can drain the water.  If you don’t have a drain valve, consider having one installed.  It is a simple and easy job.  Once the water is shut off, you can leave the outside spigot open to allow a path for any remaining water which freezes.  Be sure to detach your hoses.

Having a local independent insurance agent who understands the unique issues arising from Massachusetts and New England winters is a great way to make sure you have the proper financial protection in place headed into the winter.  Contact us today at 781.444.3050 or 781.784.2461 to review your current coverage.

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