Winter is Coming: How to Get Your Home Ready

By Tom Murray

Leaves are dropping, geese are flying south and temperatures are plummeting. These tell-tale signs of imminent seasonal change are also reminders to start winterizing your home. Advance prep is important not only for your comfort, but to protect the value of your property and reduce long-term and unexpected repair costs. “A few small things now can make a big difference down the road,” says AMA claims manager, Jordan Andrew. “The work isn’t a lot, but it’s really going to save you a lot of money in the long term—while also protecting the safety of your family.”

To get you started, Jordan has prepared a list of helpful tips for battling the encroaching deep freeze. 

Water can cause a lot of damage, so turn off shutoff valves to any exterior faucets—it’ll prevent any kind of freezing and pipe-related damages. The outdoor shutoff valve is usually located near the ceiling, and on the inside of the wall near the outdoor faucet.

If you’re using space heaters, make sure to keep them away from combustibles or loose items that could catch fire. 

Wood-burning fireplaces are a rarity these days, but if you have one check the area around it for debris, and have it cleaned on a regular basis as well.

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Have your furnace inspected annually—and make sure to regularly change the filters throughout the season. Not only does this help prevent heat loss during winter months, it also protects your family from carbon monoxide-related incidents. 

You should also regularly check the batteries on any carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to make sure they’re in full working condition. 

If you have an air conditioner, it’s always good to protect it with a cover to shield it from the harsh elements.  

Virtually any maintenance work you do will add value to your home in the long run. Fixing loose or missing shingles prolongs the lifespan of your roof and prevent water-related losses that might occur. Water can also damage the insulation in your ceiling in crawl spaces if it seeps in. 

Make sure to clean your eavestroughs regularly, especially in the fall to prevent next year’s spring melt from backing up and causing damage. 

You can also prolong the life of your patio furniture by bringing it inside or covering it up with a tarps, so that they don’t get exposed to and damaged by the elements. 

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