Though winter hasn’t officially begun, the days are shorter, the leaves are falling, and the temperatures are dropping. Winter often brings severe weather conditions to Kentucky, so it’s very important to inspect your home, both inside and out. Before freezing rain, snow, and ice take over, get your home in shape for the winter months ahead. Preventative maintenance now, can save you money and help keep your family safe. We’ve put together a winterizing checklist to follow. So let’s get started!
Outside your home:
- Check your roof for signs of damage or wear. Make repairs immediately.
- Clean your gutters after the leaves have fallen. Make sure gutters are free of debris and downspouts are clear and drain away from your home. Clogged gutters can result in ice dams forming which may cause roof, wall, and foundation damage.
- Disconnect outside hoses, turn off water to outside spigots, and drain water from faucets and irrigation systems. Leave faucets open. If you can’t turn off water to outside spigots, insulate or cover faucets to prevent freezing of the water pipe(s).
- Clean out any window wells of leaves and debris so that they drain well.
- Inspect vents and ducts. This includes attic vents, dryer vents and exhaust ducts. Clean out the clothes dryer vent flap and make sure it closes. Make sure attic, roof, and crawl space vents are open. You don’t want moisture to build up and soak insulation.
- Have cracks in walkways and driveways repaired now. Freezing and thawing will make them worse.
- Caulk around windows, doors, places where brick meets siding and all utility entrances (including cable TV, phone, gas, internet, plumbing, etc.)
- If you have single paned windows, install storm windows.
- Install gaskets behind outlets and switch covers on outside walls to help your home hold its heat.
- Check crawl spaces, garages and basements for rodents and other animals looking for warmth. If you see signs of life, call a professional to have them removed.
Inside your home:
- If you have a sump pump, make sure it is in good working condition. Make sure there are no wet spots or puddles in your crawlspace or basement.
- Insulate all pipes in unheated areas, including your garage, to keep them from freezing and bursting.
- Check doors and windows for air leaks. Repair glazing putty around windows and window panes if necessary.
- Get your fireplace ready for winter. Make sure there is no soot or creosote accumulation in your flue. Have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional company that is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America.
- Close the fireplace flue damper and glass fireplace doors when not in use.
- Have your furnace professionally inspected and serviced so that it is in good working order. For optimum operation, change the filter every 30-45 days.
- Insulate floors over an unheated crawlspace or basement. Uninsulated floors lose more heat than ceilings!
- Check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. This is the time to replace batteries and make sure they are in working order.
Other items to ensure health and safety:
- Prepare an emergency kit for power outages. If you lose power due to an ice storm or heavy snow, you may be housebound for a significant period of time. Your emergency kit should include non-perishable food, bottled water, a battery powered radio, extra medicine, flashlights, extra batteries, and a first aid kit.
- Take an inventory of winter specific supplies now. These include: snow shovels, ice scrapers, ice-melt, sand or kitty litter, and windshield washer. Make sure everyone in the family has scarves, hats, gloves, water-proof and insulated coats, and boots.
- Know where the main water valve is in your home in case you need to shut it off.
- Make sure you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and by each fireplace in your home. Check to make sure that the pressure indicator shows a charge and the lock pin is intact.
- Consider installing a programmable thermostat that will adjust the temperature in your home automatically during periods when you’re at work or sleeping.
Prevention is the very best way to keep you family safe, save money, and help keep your homeowners premiums low. Contact the experienced professionals at Foundation Insurance Group, located in St. Matthews, Kentucky, and serving the greater Louisville metro area. Our agents are always happy to review your current homeowners policy and make recommendations to limit your exposures.