Winter is here. But is your house ready? You need to make sure that house can handle the harsh cold of this time of year or this season could cost you thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars in damages.
Is your roof in shape? Are your pipes good? Is your foundation solid? Are you properly insured? If you want to protect your investment, your answer needs to be an absolute yes to all of these. If not, you could be looking at severe damages and a hefty bill at the end.
Check Your Homeowners Insurance
The most important thing on this list is homeowners insurance. You’ll need to make sure your policy is up to date and that you have a reliable insurance company. You will want to check to see what your policy does and doesn’t cover.
Winter months often bring snow, and snow is heavy. Additionally, ice can cause you all kinds of problems. Pests will be attempting to come into your home to be safe from the weather. The threats to your home are numerous in the winter, and it is important that you have a solid insurance policy.
However, keep in mind that the insurance company is a company first and will always look out for it’s bottom line first. This means that if they don’t have to cover it, they won’t. Make sure that you are covered for everything that can happen to your home by getting the best possible coverage and knowing the best tips for winter weather safety.
Check Your Home’s Foundation
Before the weather gets really cold, the local flora and fauna will adjust to the changes in the weather. The leaves will make a mess as they fall from the branches, and the insects and rodents will look for warm shelter. Your heated house looks like Buckingham Palace to the critters, and your foundations could rot due to the leaves if left unattended.
To prevent any uninvited guests from entering make sure any entrances — whether they be doors, windows, or just small cracks — are properly sealed. Make sure to remove any leaves, weeds, or debris from the foundation to prevent rot.
Standing water and large cracks in the foundation can cause massive damage to your house. Imagine having to rebuild an entire wall in your house or getting sick from toxic mold because of neglect. These are just two of many potential problems that can be caused by cracks in your foundation.
To make sure you don’t have to fork over much more that you could have to later take care of these issues right away. Fill any holes created by cracks with epoxy or polyurethane, and remove any standing water immediately.
The foundation your home stands on is important. Making sure it’s solid is a large part of protecting your home. Getting it inspected twice a year is a good way to prevent these problems from happening.
Look Over Your Roof for Damage
The first and easiest thing you will need to do when checking your roof for damage is simply to get up there and look around. The obvious damage is not always the easiest to fix, but it is usually the easiest to find and could be a symptom of a larger problem.
Look for cracks, missing shingles, stains, mold, and rot. These signs of obvious damage, while not all big red flags, are usually easy to spot. However, you might not be able to see them from the ground. So get up on the roof, and look closely.
Cleaning out your gutters is not only a fall chore but a winter one as well. While they might not be as full in the fall, they can still get clogged in the winter. Any backup or blockages can be potentially dangerous causing water damage or mold to grow. Make sure you clean any blockages out.
The attic and ceilings are also areas that need to be checked out. Make sure the attic is ventilated to prevent mold, and look for pests such as birds and bees that may cause hidden or future damage.
The ceilings should be checked for stains as a result of leaks. The earlier you catch a leak, the better off you’ll be in terms of repairs. Finding little water stains early could be the difference between spending less than a hundred dollars and spending thousands to fix an issue.
One of the most dangerous things that could happen to your roof is to have a tree branch fall on it. You can start by making sure that there aren’t any tree branches hanging over your roof. You should do this especially if you live in an area where you can expect it to snow.
Snow is heavy and can occasionally make tree branches fall. Make sure they aren’t hanging over your roof so even if they do fall, they won’t land on your roof. For larger branches hanging over a roof, you should get the help of a professional to make sure that branch doesn’t fall on the roof after you cut it.
The roof of your house is what keeps you safe from the elements of nature most of all. Make sure that it’s fully prepared to do its job. Depending on the age of your roof, you can go up to three years between inspections. For older roofs, you may want to get inspections done every six months.
Protect Your Pipes
One thing about winter is that it’s cold, and temperatures may fall below freezing. Your pipes need to be ready. Make sure they are insulated and have a release in case of a blockage. When water freezes, it expands, and this will cause your pipes to burst if you’re not prepared. Make sure your furnace, intakes, and power meters are ready as well.
In the case of a burst, you could possibly be spending thousands of dollars. Make sure you don’t let any water stand in your pipes for too long during the winter. You should also familiarize yourself with the process of shutting off water to the entire house to prepare for potential emergencies.
Prepare Your House
The winter is a harsh time of year in terms of the weather. Make sure your how is prepared to weather the elements by properly winterizing your house. You should also prepare your house to save power as well
These preventative measures will save you both time and money, allowing you to enjoy the colder weather without worrying about your house being damaged from the season. And once your house is covered, make sure you prepare your car for winter, too.
Marquis Ealy writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, AutoInsuranceEZ.com. Marquis is an entrepreneur in the independent media space.