January and February are busy months for insurance adjusters in the northern parts of the country because wind, water and snow can all do serious damage to a home. Fortunately, homeowners can prepare their properties for these issues and spot potential warning signs before they turn into bigger problems.
Perhaps the most important aspect of insulating a home from major damage over the course of the winter is to make sure pipes won’t freeze, according to the City of Cleveland Division of Water. At a minimum, when pipes freeze, they can disrupt a home’s water supply, but more seriously, they can burst and spray a lot of water all over the floor in a short amount of time. The resulting water damage can take quite a while and cost a lot to clean up.
Where to Begin
With such a risk in mind, homeowners should make sure they are able to identify any uninsulated pipes that may be in their basements and attics, under sinks or running along outside walls. Homeowners should also properly insulate pipes either with spray-on insulation or tubes of fiberglass that are available at just about any major hardware store for relatively low costs.
In addition, homeowners would also be wise to make sure any issues that allow cold air into their homes at all, such as cracks along the outside of doors and windows or open air vents, are properly sealed up. As an added bonus this will save a bit on heating costs over the course of the winter.
Another issue to keep in mind with heating is that if a home’s temperature dips below 55 degrees (especially if the heat goes out), it’s probably wise to open all faucets and leave them running on a drip. The constant flow of water can keep pipes from freezing even in frigid conditions.
Turning Attentions Outside
Many of the things that can damage a home during winter originate outside the home, according to Top Reveal. For instance, older trees that get weighed down with snow and ice can pose a threat. If they fall over in the wrong direction, they could crash onto a car, garage, home or other structures on the property, causing significant damage and representing a safety risk. It might be wise for owners to trim ominous branches or cut a weaker tree down altogether.
Furthermore, it’s vital for homeowners to make sure gutters and other drainage areas are clear of debris because backups can cause water damage to a home or yard, and the cleanup can be costly. In addition, owners should keep a close eye on any icicles that form outside a home and steer clear of any areas where they may fall.
A little common sense and vigilance is key to any home safety issue, but during winter in particular, staying on guard should be a homeowner’s top priority. With this in mind, it might be wise to invest in a home warranty plan, which can help insulate homeowners from some of the costs associated with repairs in the event of a winter accident.
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