Preparing Your Home for the Winter

Though winters are typically milder in the Lowcountry, it is important for homeowners to know what steps to take to prepare their home for inclement winter weather.

The “winterization” of a home is the process of preparing the property for the winter. Being proactive can help protect against risks of damage due to bursting water pipes and other property issues.

While most home insurance policies cover damages due to extreme winter weather, damage caused to a property as a result of not properly winterizing a home could potentially create a complex claims situation. Homeowners might avoid these circumstances by following standard winterization recommendations:

1. Clean out the home’s gutters and install gutter guards, which will prevent ice from building up in the gutter system.

2. Insulate pipes that are susceptible to freezing. If the temperature outside drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, allow several faucets in your home to slowly drip to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.

3. Caulk holes and openings around windows, doors, air conditioners, and other gaps in the home to help prevent cold air from seeping in.

4. To prevent slips or falls, keep driveways and sidewalks clear of snow and ice. Repair outdoor steps and handrails that are broken or loose.

5. Be aware of where your pipes are located, know how to shut off your home’s water source, and consider installing an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system. These measures protect against increased pressure caused by freezing pipes and can prevent them from bursting.

6. When at home or when away, ensure your thermostat is set to at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping the thermostat too low in the winter could potentially cause indoor pipes to freeze.

7. Have all sources of heat in your home serviced at least once a year to ensure they are operating safely and efficiently.

8. Make sure your home has smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. It is recommended that they are tested once a month, and that batteries are replaced when needed. Residential fires are most common during the winter months.

9. Ice, snow, and wind can weaken trees, potentially causing branches to fall. Ensure that trees in close proximity to your home, vehicles, and outdoor belongings are kept trimmed and that dead branches are removed.

The agents at Gill Insurance of the Lowcountry are available to assist our clients with any questions they may have about the winterization process as well as homeowners’ insurance policies. Give us a call today to get started! (843) 388-5021.

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