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Prep your home for winter

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Mark Blog PhotoProper home maintenance can help prevent damage caused by snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. Autumn is a great time to winter-proof your home.

Trim back trees. Ice, snow, and wind could cause weak trees or branches to break—damaging your home or car as well as injuring someone walking on your property.

Use caulk and weather stripping. Many small cracks and gaps around the perimeter of your home can add up to significant heat loss during winter months. To keep the heat from escaping through these spaces, inspect the perimeter of your home and apply caulking or weather stripping wherever necessary. Use caulking to protect water pipes and make sure that skylights and other roof openings have proper weather stripping to prevent snowmelt from seeping in.

Repair steps and hand railings. Falls are one of the leading causes of injuries in the home. Broken stairs and banisters can become lethal when covered with snow and ice.

Clean out gutters. Be sure your gutters are clear so melting snow and ice can flow freely. This can prevent ice damming—a condition where water is unable to drain through the gutters and instead seeps into the house, causing damage to ceilings and walls.

Prevent plumbing freezes. Drain all of your garden hoses and insulate exposed plumbing pipes. If you can't turn off the water to your hose from inside the house, you can purchase an insulating cover for the outside faucet. Drain your air conditioner pipes and, if your air conditioner has a water shut-off valve, turn it off. A burst pipe can cause significant water damage inside and create a slipping hazard outside your home.  

Mark Dannehl, Personal Insurance Consultant