We all know how unpredictable New England weather can be… one minute it’s sunny, the next it’s snowing. That’s why we put together this Fall home maintenance checklist to make sure you and your family are prepared this winter season! Most of the items on this list are tasks that most homeowners are able to do on their own, however we do recommend
Clean your Gutters
While no one loves having to do it, cleaning your gutters is one of the more important maintenance tasks. When gutters are neglected, they can easily become clogged with leaves and other debris which can lead to rot and rodent infestations. Another important measure to take is to ensure that water does not pool up against your house. When this happens, it can lead to more costly issues such as damaged foundations, driveways and walkways, as well as potential internal damage to your home and roof.
Cleaning Your Chimney and Fireplace
Every home with a chimney and or fireplace should make sure that is is properly inspected and cleaned at least once a year. This is one of the most important things to do, especially if you have a wood stove or fireplace. While a fire is burning it lets off a large amount of soot and creosote that are highly combustible and can lead to chimney fires. This is why it is so vital to properly remove this material so that it does not become backed up to unsafe levels. Unfortunately this is one of those tasks that is best left to a professional and should not be completed by the homeowner.
Fixing & Lighting up Walkways
With so many variables such as ice, snow and wet leaves, sometimes your walkways can be an accident waiting to happen. That’s why in addition to keeping them free of snow and leaves and using sand and salt to reduce the ice, we also recommend making sure your walkway is well lit. It’s important to do everything you can to prevent accidental injuries to help reduce your risk of insurance claims and raised premiums.
Prevent Frozen Pipes
It’s everyone’s worst fear in the winter: burst pipes. When pipes freeze during the cold winter months the water expands, causing the pipes to burst resulting in an expensive repair bill. Fortunately there are measures you can take to help reduce this risk.
- Make sure all outdoor water valves are shut off and your hoses are stored inside.
- Drain any excess water from outdoor pipes.
- Cover any exposed interior pipes with foam insulation.
- Tie down pipe heating cable for any pipes that may need extra heat to stay fluid. Using cable ties work best.
- If you have any sinks that are on an exterior wall, keep the cabinet doors open so that heat from the house can flow underneath the sink to the exposed pipes.
- For extreme cold, leave at least one sink on a slow drip to keep water flowing through the pipes.
Inspect all Heating
Inspecting your heating system is critical to not only your comfort but the safety of your home. Faulty heating can cause numerous headaches including freezing pipes, ice dams, etc. The following tips are recommended each winter:
- Replacing the filter in your furnace annually.
- Hire a heating professional to clean and inspect your heating system to ensure optimal performance.
- Ensure your heating ducts are clean for better heating efficiency and to reduce the dust that lingers around in the house.
Testing your Winter Equipment
We also want to remind you to make sure your winter equipment is running correctly. Be sure to start your snow blower, generator and make sure all of the flash lights have new batteries in them, just in case we get a surprise early snow storm! The last thing you want is a broken snow blower or generator after the first snowfall! Testing before hand allows you more time to fix any mechanical issues before it becomes a problem.
It’s our hope that with this checklist we can help make this winter season just a little bit easier on everyone. The final tip on our list is to review your homeowners policy to make sure that you have the right coverage for anything that life can throw your way. There’s no better way to protect the place you love and raise your family all year round! If you’d like to get a quote or review your homeowners insurance policy, give us a call anytime in our office at 860-684-5270 or visit us here. Our agents are standing by to assist you with all of your insurance needs!