December is here and along with it comes the familiar reminders that winter is quickly approaching. Turn on the radio and Christmas music is blaring, go to the store and see decorations and lights lining the shelves. It’s also that time of year again when you have to prepare your home for freezing temperatures. Here are a few items that you can start with to help winterize your home this season.
- Cover patio furniture—patio furniture wears easily in climate change. If possible, I recommend storing patio furniture in a shed or garage. If that’s not possible, cover them with a tarp or specifically designed covers is a great way to minimize weather damage to your furniture.
- Cover the air conditioner—the coils on the top and sides of your air conditioner can be easily damaged. Wet leaves and debris can ruin these coils which will cause your air conditioner to run less effectively, and could even ruin it completely. By simply covering the coils, you could prevent a costly repair.
- Cover crawlspace vents—if you have a crawlspace under your home, you likely have vents on the outside in your foundation. In the summer you should open the vents to let air through to prevent mold growth; however, in the winter you should close the vents and cover them with Styrofoam or crawl space vent covers. Doing so helps you heat your home more efficiently.
- Put hoses away and cover outside faucets—when water freezes, it expands. If there is water left in the hose, it will likely freeze and tear. You should undo the hose, drain it, and store it in a shed or garage for the winter to prevent it from breaking. The faucet heads should also be protected from the cold weather. Styrofoam faucet covers go directly over the faucet to keep heat in and prevent a possible break from freezing.
- Insulate pipes and keep your home heated—if you are going to be traveling this winter season, it is still important to maintain heat in the home. Pipes are easily frozen and could burst from the pressure. Insulating the pipes will also help prevent freezing from occurring.
- Replace the air filter—your furnace sucks in air and uses a filter to sift out any particles from being blown onto the coils. A clean filter will help your furnace run efficiently and increase the life of your furnace. Depending on the filter quality, a good rule of thumb is to replace it every 1-3 months.
- Drain the gas from your mower—this is one maintenance item individuals seem to forget about. When storing a mower for the winter, it is important to either drain the gas from the mower or let it run until the gas has been used up. If not done, moisture could seep into the gas tank and ruin your mower.
I’m not a fan of the cold weather, but it’s almost upon us. Taking a little time to winterize your home could help you prevent a loss and save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Talk to your local independent insurance agent for other suggestions they may have to help prepare your home for the winter months.