Even though we are only in the middle of autumn, winter is fast approaching. Days are getting shorter, it is getting colder outside and hazardous weather might become a lot more prevalent. Particularly in today’s world, where social distancing is the law of the land, you will naturally want to make your home a haven during the coming winter. You might wonder what you can do to make the home safer, more secure and all-around more comfortable for you and your family.
Fall and winter can be trying times for properties of all types. No matter how hard you work to reinforce your home, it is not immune to damage, deterioration or other hazards. However, that same hard work can still help you make your home more secure and reduce the risk of problems occurring.
Additionally, if damage or other issues do occur this winter, then the right preparations might reduce their severity. This can keep you from having to file an extremely large home insurance claim and might save you from a high increase in your premiums.
The preparations you make for this winter can help you feel a lot more secure in your home. So, let’s take a look at some of the most important things that you can do:
1. Clean Out Your Gutters
Winter equals precipitation, be it rain or snow. Therefore, if it excessively saturates the area around your home, then structural damage, mold growth and potential flooding might occur. Your homeowners insurance will not cover flooding or other damage done by excessive rain. This is particularly true if you could have avoided this damage otherwise.
As a result, make sure that you can direct water as much as possible away from your home during times of precipitation. Clean out and repair all the gutters and drainage ditches around your home so that they cannot disrupt the appropriate runoff. If necessary, also make repairs to retaining walls or other parts of the foundation so that they do not become further damaged by moisture.
2. Check the Roof
Obviously, the roof of your home is your most important piece of protection against the elements. Therefore, holes, broken shingles, damaged seals and structural instability could all spell disaster when winter precipitation strikes your home. As a result, you should have a professional inspect your roof to determine if there are significant safety risks present. If so, then they can also help you arrange to have the necessary repairs made.
3. Clean Your Chimney and Furnace
If you have a wood-burning fireplace or furnace, or if you have a gas heating system in the home, then you should have them cleaned and serviced before winter sets in. During the winter, you will probably use these systems a lot more than you have in the last year. Therefore, if they don’t work properly, they could pose serious safety risks, from fires to gas leaks.
Over time, flammable residue and other debris tends to build up in these locations. By cleaning and servicing these areas before using them, you can prevent combustion risks and even create a healthier breathing and ventilation space within the home.
4. Monitor Your Electrical System
During the winter, it will get dark a lot earlier and temperatures will be a lot cooler. Therefore, you will use more electricity, both through lighting and your central HVAC system. You do not want your household’s electrical system to fail, therefore. Not only could this mean a lot of inconvenience, but you could also run the risk of electrical fires if your system has pre-existing damage.
Make a point of doing what you can to monitor your electrical usage this winter. Do not overload outlets or place flammable items on top of radiators, vents or power sources. If you are cost-conscious, then you can only to heat portions of the house that you use frequently. For example, you might not keep the heat on in a garage apartment which you won’t use throughout the winter.
5. Repair Your Water Lines
If there are exposed pipes in your home, then they might freeze during extremely cold weather. That’s why you are encouraged to wrap these pipes and let a stream of water run in faucets during particularly cold periods. This will help keep the water within them from freezing or causing the pipe to burst and flood the property.
The time to make repairs to your plumbing is now. While the weather is still warm, you can fix problems that, though they are still small, might become a lot bigger in times of severe weather.
6. Inspect Your Home’s Seals
There are numerous seals around any home. They surround your doors, windows, roof and foundations. They keep your interior safe and dry. However, if they are broken, warped or misaligned, they can’t do their job effectively. This might expose the home to pest invasions, mold risks, water damage and other losses. They also might allow heat to escape the home and cause your utility bills to skyrocket. Therefore, take some time this autumn to realign doors and windows, shore up your foundation, and seal any holes around the property.
Of course, don’t forget to make repairs to walkways and stairs, buy plenty of ice melt, replace your air filters and make an appointment to have your air conditioning serviced before you turn it off for the year. The better you take care of the home, the more secure you will be this winter.
Also Read: Protecting Your Home from Wildfires
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