As the holidays near and the air grows cold, there are many things that need checked off the to-do list before Jack Frost begins “nipping at your nose.” Being a first-year homeowner, I need to check my to-do list for my home before I can begin to think of my other lists, like holiday shopping. Here are just a few things on my list that you might want to consider checking around your home too:
1. Window well and crawl space covers
Moisture can freeze, causing the foundation to crack or pipes under your house to freeze. Avoid having cold, damp air blow into your basement or crawl space by covering any window wells and crawl space vents. This can help prevent major issues later on.
2. Properly insulate all areas
Heat rises; it’s a scientific fact! If your house is not properly insulated, all of the heat you’re paying to generate will rise out of the house with nothing to stop it. Do you have enough insulation in your attic to keep your heat from escaping quickly? I’m able to participate in my electric company’s discount program since our attic is properly insulated, which helps promote energy conservation. Check with your electric company to see if they offer a discount. Even if they don’t, you’ll likely save money on your bills simply because the added insulation will help retain the heat.
Also, check your windows and doors. Consider hanging up energy-saving curtains or draft protectors if you feel cold air sneaking in. After all, Jack Frost isn’t invited to the annual Christmas Party!
3. Prevent Frozen Pipes
No one wants to find out in the heat of July that their pool has a crack in it, or that their sprinkler lines burst last winter! Make sure to drain all external water sources, like garden hoses, and shut off outside water valves to prevent moisture from freezing inside. And be sure to properly cover your pool as well.
4. Ready the car for winter
Keep an ice scraper or de-icing spray in your car to help keep your windows clear and aid in visibility. If snow is common in your area, you may want to consider snow tires. In case of an emergency, it’s a good idea to keep a blanket, snow boots, and even a snow shovel in your car. It’s better to be overly prepared than ruin your non-water-resistant dress shoes while trying to dig your car out of a snow bank with your bare hands.
5. Walk around for a final inspection
Frozen tree branches can wreak havoc in the winter time by falling in unwanted places. Make sure you do your best to prevent a future claim and consider having branches trimmed away from your house, garage, and even power lines.
Talk to your local independent insurance agent for other suggestions they may have to help prepare your home for the winter months.