(Erie, PA., 12/08/10) – Just as you start to appreciate the rustle of autumn leaves, you’ll inevitably realize slick roads and shovels are soon to follow. Although some of us may not want to think about it yet, winter is just one snowfall away. And the season can cause devastating damage to your home if you do not prepare ahead of time.
“Most people make the mistake of procrastinating and putting off home maintenance until it’s too late. The best time to winterize your home is when the leaves are beginning to turn and not when the snow is falling.”
Erie Insurance recommends homeowners take the following precautions to help protect your home against winter weather:
Maintain your gutters- Remove leaves and other debris from gutters so melting snow and ice can flow freely.
Trim trees and remove dead branches- Ice, snow and wind can cause weak trees or branches to break, damaging your home, car or injuring someone walking on your property.
Add insulation- Add extra insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Ideally, the attic should be five to ten degrees warmer than the outside air. Well-insulated basements and crawl spaces can help protect the pipes from freezing.
Maintain pipes- Wrap pipes with heating tape. Insulate any unfinished rooms or garages with exposed pipes. Check for cracks and leaks. Have any minor pipe damage fixed immediately.
Keep your house warm- Keep the temperature in your house at least 65 degrees. The temperature inside the walls where the pipes are located is substantially colder than the walls themselves. If the temperature is lower than 65 degrees it will not keep the pipes from freezing.
Check heating systems– The proper use and maintenance of furnaces, fireplaces and wood-burning stoves can prevent fire and smoke damage. Have furnaces, boilers and chimneys serviced at least once a year before the heating season begins. Make sure that all of the smoke alarms are carbon dioxide detectors are working properly.
Maintain steps and handrails- Broken stairs and banisters can become lethal when covered with snow and ice. Make repairs now to prevent someone from falling and seriously being injured.
This is also a good time of year to review your homeowners policy. Talk to your agent about any major improvements or additions you have made to the home. Make sure you have enough coverage and discuss what is included in the policy. Keep all of your information accurate and up to date.
According to A.M. Best Company, Erie Insurance Group, based in Erie, Pennsylvania, is the 16th largest automobile insurer in the United States based on direct premiums written and the 18th largest property/casualty insurer in the United States based on total lines net premium written. The Group, rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best Company, has over four million policies in force and operates in 11 states and the District of Columbia. To learn more, visit www.erieinsurance.com.