Living in the south affords us small luxuries like not having to plow our driveways or needing snow tires, but with temperatures dropping below freezing several times a year, it’s a good idea to check off a few simple tasks that will help protect your home and property.
We’ve compiled a list of things you can do ahead of winter’s wrath that will help keep your home protected and save you money from costly repairs or lost energy.
- Seal cracks
Take some time to go around your home and look for any cracks or holes around windows, doors, sliding glass doors, pipes, and AC units. Seal them using caulk or weather stripping. Door drafts cause your heating system to work harder and consume more energy, so consider installing a door sweep.
- Heating system maintenance
Be sure your unit is serviced annually to keep it running smoothly. There are also small things you can do yourself to keep your unit it top shape like replacing air filters, keeping the outside unit clean, and keeping vents clean.
If you have a fireplace, have it swept to ensure there is no buildup — soot, carbon, and creosote can build up too heavily inside the chimney and catch fire. Gas fireplaces should also receive annual maintenance to keep it operating safely and efficiently.
- Upgrade your thermostat
Consider switching your thermostat to a programable version to keep energy bills lower. The Department of Energy suggests keeping your home at 68 degrees in the winter while you’re home. With a programable thermostat, you can customize your thermostat with a lower temperature while you’re sleeping or away, saving you money.
- Test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors
Home fires are more common in winter than any time of the year, so check all of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. It’s probably a good idea to go ahead and replace the batteries while you’re at it. If you’re looking for an upgrade, Google’s Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector works with Nest thermostats to shut off your heating unit when it detects carbon monoxide. It will also send alerts to your phone in the event it detects smoke or carbon monoxide while you’re away.
- Winterize your roof
Inspect your roof for broken or missing shingles and keep gutters clear. While you’re up there, it’s also a good idea to check your attic for any signs of water leakage. Ensure your attic is properly ventilated to prevent mold and mildew.
- Close vents and doors
You probably don’t need your heater blowing warm air into your pantry or the guest bedroom that no one uses? Simply closing vents and doors in these less used spaces will help keep the spaces you do use warm and save on your energy bill.
- Turn off your sprinklers and pool system
If you have a pool, make sure it’s properly shut down in preparation for winter — if you’re unfamiliar with what to do, consider hiring a professional to inspect and shut down the system for winter. Don’t forget to adjust your sprinklers. Your outside water faucet is unprotected from the elements, so be prepared in the event of a hard freeze.
- Give your plants some TLC
When temperatures drop to freezing levels, it’s a good idea to give a little love to your outdoor friends too. Cover plants with frost blankets if possible but a sheet or blanket to work well too — don’t forget to anchor them down so that they don’t blow away. This will help keep warm air from the ground around the plant. Another tip is to water the soil (not the branches or leaves) of your plants to help insulate warmth into the soil. If you have potted plants, bring them inside, unless they are cold-resistant.
Thankfully, our winters are mild and most home insurance policies cover damages due to extreme winter weather, but if you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call at 850-332-5717. Our experienced insurance agents are here to answer any questions you may have regarding homeowners, condo or renters’ insurance. We hope you and your family stay safe and warm this winter!