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5 Tips on How to Prevent Property Damage this Winter

Eric Guggenheimer - Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Winter is coming and with it comes colder temperatures that can damage property if you haven’t prepared properly. Follow these 5 tips on how to prepare your property and prevent damage from cold weather.

1. Keep Your Pipes Warm

Frozen pipes can be one of the most costly damages brought on by cold weather, with the average insurance claim for damage totaling $18,000. If a pipe freezes and bursts, it can cause a whole slew of other problems from damaged drywall, interior flooding, mold, and more. To avoid frozen pipes, make sure your pipes are insulated properly, shut off all the inside valves for the outside spigots (hose bib) and open the hose bib to allow water to drain. Its also important for you to keep your heat on at a minimum of 65 degrees even if you go on vacation. If you are afraid a pipe will freeze while you are away, leave the faucet dripping slightly. This will keep a constantly flow of water through the pipe which makes it harder to freeze. Also, most pipes are located in cabinets, which can block heat. So it is a good idea to keep interior cabinet doors open to keep heat flowing to your pipes.

Inspect the area and walls around your pipes and fill any holes or cracks with caulk to prevent heat from escaping and cold from entering. Finally, you can add heating tape or extra insulation to ensure your pipes stay warm.

2. Trim Your Trees and clean your gutters

Trees are also a cause of damage in the winter, with damages ranging from $3,000-$10,000. Wind from winter storms and the weight of snow and ice combined with cold temperature causing branches to become brittle can easily cause dead or weak branches to snap off and crash into your house or car. To avoid this, take a day to trim and remove any potentially weak and dead branches near and on your property or where you park your car. It's important to keep rain and snow water away from your home. Ice dams and improperly directed water from your roof, gutter system and down spouts can lead to long-term problems like wet basements, sagging soil conditions which cause water to pond against the foundation and lead to serious moisture problems.

3. Maintain Your HVAC

Having heat circulate throughout your property is not only important for comfort, but also for ensuring your pipes don’t freeze. Even one day without heat can cause expensive damage and if your furnace goes out, it is very costly to replace. To ensure your furnace is working properly and to prolong it’s lifespan, schedule a routine maintenance check and replace your air filter more frequently due to the drier air. A clogged filter reducing efficiency and reduces the airflow and can even cause your system to become clogged.

4. Check Insurance Policy

No one wants to have their property damaged by cold weather or have to submit an insurance claim. But just in case you find yourself in this situation, you’ll want to know exactly what your policy covers. Give your insurance company a call to go over the specifics of your policy and make sure to ask about common winter damage. It’s also a good idea to ask them about common claims they see in your area this time of year and check if you are covered for those.

5. Have A Backup Plan

If winter strikes and your property is damaged, the last thing you want to do is to have no where to go. Create a backup plan in the event that your property is unusable. Check with your insurance on what support they can provide and make sure to have a plan for anything else. Reach out to family and friends or find a nearby hotel and have a bag packed with the essentials, ready to go. Communicate the plan with everyone at the property and decide on a meet up point. Following these tips on how to prevent property damage from cold weather will not only help keep your property from being damaged, but can also save you time and money in the long run. If you have any questions or would like more information on how to prepare your property for the winter, send us a message at info@circlepm.com.