Your house should be a safe space, a place to warm up after being out in the cold and wind, a reprieve from the snow and ice. If you’ve lived through even one Minnesota or Wisconsin winter, you know just how important it is to have someplace you can trust will remain warm and dry. Your house takes the brunt of the winter weather, working non-stop to keep the cold out and the warmth in. Read Reliable Agency’s tips to prepare your home for winter and prevent winter home insurance claims.
Nine steps to prepare your home for winter
1. Prep your roof before the snow piles up
- Clear all debris from the valleys and from around vents
- Replace damaged or missing shingles
- Clear overhanging branches
- Install heat cords if your house gets ice dams (proper insulation & ventilation would be even better)
2. Clear your gutters of leaves and debris
- This will be important once the snow begins melting. Leaves can plug downspouts and water may find a way inside your house instead of draining away.
3. Inspect all window and door seals and weatherproof if needed
- Install a storm door
- Install a door sweep
- Install new weather stripping to doors and windows
- Caulk around windows
- Add foam outlet protectors
4. Disconnect hoses from exterior faucets and drain sprinkler systems
- Any water left in hoses will freeze and burst
- Blow air through any buried lines to force water out
- Know where your water shut-off valves are in the event a pipe does burst
5. Insulate pipes under your house or trailer
- If you have any exposed exterior plumbing under a trailer, or in a crawl space or on the exterior of your house, make sure to protect it from freezing temperatures
- Close off any access to exposed plumbing
- Add skirting around your trailer to keep snow and cold wind
- Keep your house heated to above 65 degrees
6. Store or secure outdoor equipment
- Drain any pool below the filter lines or drain entirely if possible
- Store outdoor furniture or other items that could become damaged from strong winds
7. Clean and service your chimney/fireplace/furnace
- Make sure that there are no blockages
- Replace filters after each season of use
- Check that all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in proper working condition
8. Set ceiling fans to turn clockwise
- Push warm air down from the ceiling and help keep the room more comfortable
9. Make sure your attic is air-sealed and well insulated
- Check with a contractor to confirm how much insulation your need. According to Minnesota code, R49 is required for all new buildings and is a suggested upgrade for existing structures. Bringing your insulation up to R-60 would provide a very adequate heat loss barrier.
- Blown insulation should be no less than 15”
- Spray foam insulation should be no less than 7.25”
- The easiest way for warm interior air to escape is through air leaks into the attic. Seal all cracks and gaps to keep that precious warm air in the living quarters.
Here at Reliable Insurance Agency, we want what is best for you and all that you hold dear. We hope you don’t suffer any losses from a leaky roof, water back-up from ice dams, or any of the other winter weather-related home insurance risks. If you prepare your home for winter by following these tips, you and your loved ones can enjoy all the wonders that a Northland winter provides! Instead of worrying about your home and insurance policies, live life joyfully! If your insurance is with Reliable Agency, we’ll do all the worrying for you.