Is Your Home Winter Ready? How to Protect Your Home from Winter Weather

February 02, 2023

This weekend, the Northeast is bracing for extreme cold weather. It has been a rather mild winter thus far, but that is all about to change. If you haven’t already, now is a good time to re-check your winter safety list and make sure you and your home are ready for the freezing temperatures ahead.

What steps can I take before a winter event?

Keep an eye on the forecast and allow wireless emergency alerts on your mobile devices. If you have a generator, make sure it is serviced and placed in a well ventilated area should you need it in the event of a power outage.

If you are going to be out of town, make sure to set your thermostat no lower than 55 degrees fahrenheit to prevent frozen pipes. Check in with a trusted neighbor and ask them to check on your home when it is safe to do so.

What should I do after a winter event?

First and foremost, if you have significant damage, contact your insurance agent and document the damage to your home or business. Check the walls thoroughly for leaks and run your water to ensure there are no pipes frozen. If the weather event includes snow, remove it as soon as safely possible, especially from walkways and steps to avoid injury. If power lines are down in your area, stay clear and call it in immediately.

What can I do annually to keep my house ready for the cold winter months?

Winter preparation ahead of the season is an important part of owning a home, especially if you live in an area that experiences winter storms and freezing temps. Even without snowfall, the winter season can bring extreme winter temperatures that can wreak havoc on your home. Each year, before the winter season, make sure your roof is in good shape with no leaks. Also, check your gutters and make sure they are free from debris, clutter or ice so that water does not get backed up and cause ice dams. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor in your home. If you already have them, check to make sure all are in working order.

Any generator should be installed by a professional and exhaust must have proper piping for exhaust outside the home.

Freezing pipes are also a major concern during the cold air months. Make sure your pipes are insulated and sealed, especially in hard-to-reach places like your attic or a crawl space. Add weather stripping around doors and windows especially if you live in an older home. Consider spray foam insulation to keep your attic well insulated. Check your heating system and and have it serviced every year so any issues can be dealt with before the cold air arrives. Turning on a faucet or two to a slow drip during a cold snap for a few days will also greatly lesson the likelihood of frozen pipes.

Don’t forget to winterize the outside of your home and yard as well. Trim tree branches, especially any that hang too close to your home. Get your chimney cleaned to prevent fires and carbon monoxide from building up. Be sure to drain all outdoor faucets, garden hoses and irrigation systems, and make sure that drain pipes do NOT drain onto sidewalks or driveways. Check the exterior walls for cracks especially around your doors and windows.

And, don’t forget to review your insurance policies. Not everything related to weather events are covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy. Depending on where you live, you may want to add additional coverage.

Talk to a Brooks, Todd & McNeil Agent

Prevention and good planning are the best ways to protect you and your home. A Brooks, Todd & McNeil agent can review your policies for proper insurance coverage to rebuild or repair your home and make suggestions to ensure you are adequately covered. Winter weather can cause many issues especially if your home is not properly maintained and weatherized before the temperatures drop. Our team will help you prepare and be there for you should the winter season cause any damage to your home.