Unfortunately, there is no way to predict the forces of Mother Nature and the havoc she may wreak on your home or property. However, signing on with the right homeowners insurance and taking a few steps to weather-proof your home, especially as winter approaches, can help keep future maintenance and repair costs down.

Weather-proofing from the outside in

There are many ways you can weatherproof your home, starting with its exterior. It’s vital to make sure that no gaps or holes are left unattended. Check areas like basement window wells for debris build-up, and scan your windows and doors for gaps or cracks. Inspect sheds and crawlspaces for any potential problems, and make sure to keep central air units protected with heavy shielding material. If there are any branches or wires hanging over your home, make sure to have those removed as well.

No one likes a pipe burst or a broken furnace. Keeping the interior of your home temperate and properly ventilated can help to keep pipes from bursting and moisture from building up. This can prevent ice dams and other potential damages. Start at the top; make sure there is proper ventilation and insulation in your attic. When the temperatures really drop, try opening kitchen and bath cabinets, as well as register vents and air returns to allow more warm air to circulate through your home and around pipes.

To maintain the smooth operation of your furnace and water heater and to reduce the possibility of winter-related damages, make sure they are in an insulated area; if not, insulation may be necessary, as well as a water heater cover. If you enjoy the comfort of a fireplace, pellet stove or space heater, make sure these are well maintained and in proper working order before winter weather strikes. During your weather proofing, make sure all fire alarms are functional, for the increased use of your in-home heat providers can increase the chance of a fire at any time.

Prevent Ice dams

Now is a good time to check your insulation, particularly in the attic and around eves. Ice damming is caused by heat escaping into your attic, causing your roof to heat up and the built up snow to melt. Ice damming can be prevented by keeping your roof cool. A cool roof will allow the snow build up to eventually dissipate without extensive melting. To prevent ice damming, seal any gaps in the attic, check your insulation and make sure you have good air flow of cold air under the roof. Yes, that?s right, cold air! If you can keep your roof deck 30 F and below during the winter months there is very good chance you will avoid any ice damming problems. Keep in mind ice damming can occur over an extended period of time, which only exacerbates the damage that can occur and the cost to repair it. Popular Mechanics has a great article which was written in 2008 on how ice damming works, please take a look as it may be of assistance to you.http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/improvement/outdoor-projects/4293184

Review your homeowners insurance policy

Standard homeowners insurance policies typically cover some–but by no means all–weather related damages. Reviewing your policy or speaking with your insurance agent may prove fruitful if you are unsure about your present coverage and wish to head into the snowy season with peace of mind. You may also find that you wish to purchase additional endorsements to heighten your protection against weather related damage.

If you have more questions about protecting your home and property, contact Nicolas / Tobin Insurance to speak with an agent about homeowners insurance options. Agents in our Kent and New Milford offices will be delighted to speak with you!

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