Winter doesn’t officially start until Dec. 21, 2019, yet much of the U.S. has already experienced below-freezing temperatures, snowstorms, and icy conditions.
For homeowners in cold climates, preparing their homes for the winter is an annual ritual that can help prevent costly damage, insurance claims and save money.
Tip # 1 - winterize every part of your home
To help homeowners ready their property for the coming season, Travelers offers a few tips on how to winterize every part of the home.
1. Trim trees and remove dead branches
Trim trees and remove dead branches, so they don't fall and damage property during a storm, or heavy snow....
Well, not in Louisiana, but this is still good information. Replace snow with hurricane for the boot.
2. Clear gutters
Clear gutters so melting snow...or rain can drain properly. Also, check to make sure downspouts direct water away from the foundation.
3. Inspect steps
Inspect steps, make any necessary repairs to a home's steps and handrails to maintain safety during snowy, or icy conditions. For those couple of freezes we get each year.
4. Check smoke & CO2 detectors
Check smoke & CO2 detectors, examine and inspect the detectors to ensure they are working correctly and replace the batteries if needed.
Tip # 2 - Prepare heating systems
- Check the furnace or boiler and have it serviced by a licensed contractor at least once a year.
- Clean or replace the furnace filter on forced hot air systems.
- Check the chimney and have serviced by a licensed contractor at least once a year. Make sure to remove creosote buildup from chimneys that are connected to wood-stoves and fireplaces.
- Have fuel tanks filled and maintained throughout the season.
- Do not set the heater lower than 55 degrees, as the temperature inside the walls where water piping is located is colder than in living spaces. Also, keep doors open within the house to maintain an even temperature throughout.
- Service wood-burning or pellet stoves according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Tip # 3 - Inspect insulation
- When too much heat escapes into the attic, it can warm ice and snow on the roof, which creates an ice dam when it refreezes. Ice dams can cause expensive damage or even a roof collapse. Guard against them by installing extra insulation in the attic.
- Prevent drafts and heat loss by adding weather stripping around doors and caulking windows.
- Install storm windows, if appropriate.
Tip # 4 - Check utilities
- Check for water leaks and make repairs, if needed. If a water pipe is exposed in an unheated area, such as a garage or crawl space, wrap the pipe in UL-listed heat tape; use only thermostatically-controlled heat tape on plastic piping.
- Learn where water pipes are located and know how to shut off the water supply in the event of an emergency to prevent damage.
Tip # 5 - Make sure your policy protects you
Now you understand the basics of to maintain your home for the winter, make sure your homeowners policy protects you.
If you find your home policy isn't providing the protection you need, talk with your insurance agent or broker about getting more coverage.
Premiums will be higher if you opt for higher policy limits, broader protection, or a lower deductible, but paying slightly more for coverage may be worth the peace of mind you'll achieve.
Thimmesch Kastner Insurance is a full service insurance broker based in Lafayette, LA. We offer a variety of insurance products, and will work closely with you to explain all of your options, and coverage’s. We listen to your needs, and develop a customized portfolio for your lifestyle. We offer home, car and auto, liability (Umbrella), health, life, commercial (business), motorcycle, ATV, UTV, RV, and Boat Insurance and Cyber Insurance.