What Homeowners Need to Know to Properly Winterize their Homes

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With the winter months approaching, homeowners should start securing their homes for protection against wind, snow, ice and other harsh winter elements. Hail, rain and wind are among the most common causes of damage to homes during the colder months. SIA Group has compiled a list of safety tips for protecting your home this winter.

Where to Start

The roof is the best place to start when winter-proofing a home. All types of severe weather will stress shingles over time. Whether it is wind tugging at them or debris chipping at them, shingles must be kept in good condition and replaced as needed. Before the first freeze or snowstorm, check the roof carefully to determine the condition of the shingles. Make any needed repairs as quickly as possible.

Winterizing a Roof

In addition to being damaged by harsh weather, a roof can become damaged by branches that fall onto it. This happens when trees are not regularly trimmed, and the result is often water leaking into the home itself. Over time, even a slow and unnoticeable leak can lead to extensive rotting. To keep the roof safe, follow these helpful tips:

  • Check the roof for damage, clean the gutters and make sure downspouts are clear.
  • Trim all trees and especially dead branches around the home.
  • Make sure the flashing is in good shape to avoid water damage.
  • Use impact-resistant roofing materials whenever possible.
  • Fix any damaged or bubbled areas on a flat or sloped roof.
  • Put extra insulation in the attic to prevent ice buildup and subsequent water damage.

Winterizing a Basement

When the roof is finished, check the basement next. Make an appointment to have the furnace inspected and cleaned each year, by a qualified technician. Put insulation on all exposed water pipes. It is also helpful to keep the thermostat turned up during colder periods to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. If there are any flammable materials in the basement, make sure they are stored away from wiring or heating units.

Winterizing the Windows

Leaky windows will not only let in air but also snow and rain. This can lead to big problems in a short period of time, so it is important to make sure the caulking around the windows and door frames are in good repair. Be sure to also check the caulking around sinks, bathtubs and toilets.

After completing these tasks, homeowners should also:

  • Walk around the house and look for other items that need repair.
  • Look carefully at all appliances to see if they need to be serviced.
  • Check the wiring to make sure it is in good repair.
  • If there is a fireplace or wood-burning stove, have the chimney checked and cleaned every year when the colder months arrive.
  • Clean under the dryer and its exhaust pipe to prevent fires.
  • Look at all of the electrical outlets to ensure they do not have frayed wires or are loose.
  • Check all carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, and replace the batteries if needed.
  • Keep a working fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen.

Taking the proper steps to winterize your home will reduce the likelihood of unexpected damages or insurance claims. For more information on how to prevent homeowners claims due to winter weather contact your SIA Group Risk Advisor or call us toll free at 1.800.682.7741.