Winter Tips for Homeowners
Winter brings the holidays and opportunities to re-connect with family and friends — not to mention snuggling up in the comfort of your home. But before that, winterizing your house against the seasonal chill is a must. Don’t worry, though. We’ve come up with some additional tips that’ll help you protect your home and family this season.
Winterize the Exterior of Your House
Before you start making your interior all comfy and cozy, take these steps to make sure the outside of your home is prepared to withstand the brunt of the cold, snow and ice.
Clean up the remnants of fall. Much like the spring cleaning you do inside each year, plan on fall cleaning outside. Remove leaves and debris from roofs, gutters and around your home to prevent water and ice build-up and mold growth. While you’re outside, check for other signs of wear to the exterior of your home.
Prep your snow removal tools. Have your snow shovels and sidewalk salt ready for anything winter brings. Keeping your driveway clear from snow and ice is a must to keep you family safe, but clearing your sidewalk is your responsibility to your neighbors. Not only will you make it easier for neighbors to go for a stroll or walk their dog, but you’ll also be protecting them from slipping and falling — and you might be protecting yourself from any legal liabilities, too.
Winterize your outdoor faucets. You won’t be watering your grass or garden during the winter months, so turn off any outdoor faucets at their respective shutoff valves inside your home. After turning them off, open the faucet outside to let out any remaining water. Be sure to store away hoses and sprinklers so any water left inside doesn’t freeze and damage them.
Prepare your lawn for winter. If the ground isn’t frozen and there isn’t snow and ice on it yet, you can still get your lawn ready to handle the harsh cold and bounce back with warmer weather in the spring. Removing piles of leaves and fertilizing your lawn is a great start, but there are plenty of other ways to keep your lawn healthy while it’s freezing cold outside.
Staying Warm and Safe Inside During the Winter
Keeping the inside of your home warm isn’t just about comfort — it’s about the health and safety of your family, too. We’ve gathered a handful of tips to keep you happy, healthy and stress-free this season.
Look for air leaks. Winterizing against drafts will help keep your home nice and cozy and lower your heating bills. Things like winter-weather stripping and draft stoppers are easy to install and even easier to remove when warmer weather rolls around. To go the extra mile, only use your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans when you absolutely have to — they pull hot air out of your home and can represent a small increase in your heating bill.
Avoid frozen pipes. Keeping your home’s pipes warm and insulated is key to avoiding the expensive mess of a frozen and burst pipe. Treating any existing water leaks and covering any exposed pipes with insulation sleeves should be your first steps, but there are plenty of other ways to ensure your pipes don’t freeze this winter.
Set your thermostat for the winter. Paying careful attention to the temperature of your home can save you a lot of money in the long run. While you might prefer your home to be a toasty 71 degrees, it costs money to keep the temperature that high throughout the day. So while you’re at work, set it to something like 65 degrees and push it back up when you get home. While the savings might not seem like much in one bill, you’ll definitely notice at the end of the season.
Want even more convenience? Consider investing in a smart thermostat. Many will allow you to set them via your phone, and some will even program themselves to learn when you’re usually home and adjust the temperature for you.
Get protection with smart home technology. Smart home tech doesn’t only save money on utilities, it can also serve as a monitor for water leaks, fire, intruders and more. American Family Insurance and Frontpoint have teamed up to give you an exclusive deal on a customizable home security system that can protect your home for less. In one package, you get window and door sensors as well as smoke and water leak detection. And if that’s not a good enough reason to go high-tech, you may even earn a homeowners insurance discount for using qualified smart home technology! Win-win.
Practice fire safety. Chilly weather is so much more inviting if you can curl up by the fireplace, light some scented candles or do a little holiday baking. But with all of those activities comes an added risk of fire. Make sure you, your family and your home are ready for the season by preparing your fireplace and checking fire extinguishers and batteries in smoke detectors. Then, have a good old-fashioned fire drill so everyone knows what to do and where to go if the unexpected happens.
Personal insurance review. It’s a great idea to have an annual review of your homeowners insurance to make sure you have all the coverage you need. Connect with your American Family Insurance agent to schedule your review, and be sure to ask if there are any new discounts you might be eligible for.
Reducing your insurance risks, staying warm and saving money are all key to having a safe and happy holiday season. And by taking these extra winterization steps, you can have extra peace of mind and comfort while you watch the snowflakes fall from your warm, cozy home.