Winter weather can mean trouble for your house. In 2017, the Summary of Natural Hazard Statistics reported that winter storms caused more than $308.79 million in damage to homes across the U.S. The Insurance Information Institute added that a common winter homeowner’s claim averages $26,977. Winterizing your home can help protect it – and keep your family safe and warm, too.
Get your home ready for winter
- Weather strip – By sealing gaps on your doors and windows you can avoid mold, mildew and water damage around your windows and doors.
- Insulate pipes – Insulating your pipes will help prevent weather damage no matter what season. One in 55 insured homes have a water damage or freezing pipe claim every year, with an average claim for frozen pipes coming in at nearly $8,000.
- Ready your roof – FEMA studies show that your roof is the most vulnerable part of your home to weather damage. The buildup of ice dams on your roof in the winter could lead to damaged ceilings and roofs which cause melted snow to spill into your home. One way to help prevent these is to keep the entire roof the same temperature as the eaves (part of the roof that overhangs) by making sure your attic is well ventilated and insulated.
- Seal air leaks – Statistics show that somewhere between 10 and 30% of energy costs are due to air leaks that could’ve been sealed. To reduce air leakage, install or replace the sweep at the base of your door and apply caulk or weather-stripping around drafty windows.
- Clean gutters – If your gutters are clogged, the snow and ice will not drain properly when it melts, which can overflow the gutter, or even worse, weigh the gutter down and possibly detach from the house.
- Maintaining your furnace – Keeping up with the cleanliness of your furnace and making sure it is working can prevent mishap caused by a storm in the future. Changing the filter prolongs the life of your furnace and can save you 5-15% on your energy bill.
- Tree maintenance – Branches are more vulnerable to break during the winter, as the wood hardens and becomes more brittle and susceptible to wind damage. In addition, snow and ice can accumulate on trees and branches, increasing the chances of damage to your home.