With temperatures falling it’s time to prepare your home for winter. Winter weather can lead to extensive damage if you don’t tick home maintenance items off your list now.
These are some of the simplest, most affordable ways to prevent home damage and insurance claims.
It’s getting darker earlier with each passing day and dark homes are more vulnerable to break-ins and thefts.
Walk around your property to identify areas that need more illumination. Install motion detector lighting in key areas such as porches, outbuildings, and your garage.
Invest in Home Security
This is a win-win option as you’ll not only improve home protection, but also lower your home insurance premiums. Almost all insurers offer a discount if you add a home security system with cameras and sensors.
Many of these systems offer DIY options; they’re completely programmable, and often accessible via your cellphone.
Clean Gutters & Downspouts
It’s not surprising that many people dread this dirty job, but it is very important. If they’re clogged water can seep into your house causing damage to your personal belonging and the structure.
Undetected moisture can also lead to costly mold and mildew. In cold climates, undrained water becomes ice which can leach under shingles causing ice dams and structural heaving.
Get a Roof Inspection
Unfortunately, many homeowners never think about the roof on their home until there’s a leak. Understandably, climbing up a ladder and crawling around on a roof aren’t attractive options so the roof is ignored.
If you don’t have the equipment, knowledge, and skills necessary, contact a local roofing contractor. Most offer a roofing inspection service which includes minor repairs. Some include gutter cleaning in their reasonable fee.
Install Smart Devices
Insurers smile on homeowners when they install smart devices that reduce risk. Examples include smart water monitors that detect leaks. Smart smoke detectors and smart door locks may also qualify for discounts, plus they reduce the likelihood of extensive damage or theft.
Smart thermostats may not qualify for a discount, but they can help you lower your heating bill while protecting pipes from freezing.
Beef Up Fire Protection
Winter is the prime season for home fires as we’re more reliant on heating devices and cook more during cold weather too. Heaters should be plugged directly into outlet, not an extension cord.
If you don’t own a fire extinguisher, buy one. They’re inexpensive and very valuable for putting out small fires. Cooking is still the number one cause of household fires in America.
Place a list of emergency numbers in an obvious location and review your evacuation plan with the entire household. Check the date on your smoke alarms and change the batteries, if necessary. Alarms that are older than ten years should be replaced as their efficiency declines with age.
Ensure flammable materials are well away from heaters, fireplaces, wood stoves, and candles. Chimneys should be cleaned regularly to eliminate contaminants, even if you’re operating gas appliances.
Proper home maintenance is a requirement of your insurance and a great way to keep your household safe, reduce the likelihood of damage, and prevent costly insurance claims.