Fall is my favorite time of year; the air turns crisp and cool, the leaves change brilliant colors and it’s a nice breather before winter sends its icy grip. As the days grow shorter and the leaves fall, it’s the perfect time to look around your home and get prepared for winter. Fall’s mild temperatures and adequate daylight provides an opportunity to check the heater, repair gutters and add extra insulation to the attic. An early autumn storm or blizzard is no time to learn you have leaks or other problems.
The Insurance Information Institute estimates that winter-related damage causes over a billion dollars in insurance losses annually. Prevent your home from being a statistic; use this checklist to make sure it’s ready for the onslaught of winter:
- Have your heating system checked and cleaned
- Inspect ceilings, windows and outer walls for cracks
- Change air filters
- Check your pipes and plumbing
- Inspect your roof for wear or damage and clean the gutters
- Install weather stripping and caulk around windows and doors
- Seal up foundation and driveway cracks
- Check your fireplace and chimney for cracks or leaks
Look around your deck or patio and yard; now is the time to clean and store seasonal outdoor furniture and flower pots, drain sprinkler systems, trim trees and shrubs, fertilize lawns and mulch gardens. Don’t forget to service the snow blower and lawn mower while you are at it.
You also need to make sure your home is fire safe and you check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors; the National Fire Protection Association warns that home fires and carbon monoxide poisonings climb during the fall and winter months. They recommend:
- Installing smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on all levels of the home
- Installing carbon monoxide detectors in a central location outside each sleeping area and on all levels of the home
- Testing all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replacing the batteries once a year (fall is the preferred time)
- Having heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional
- Keeping any flammable material at least three feet from heat sources
- Checking fire extinguishers
- Knowing and practicing home escape routes
A vital preparation for any season is to review and understand your homeowners or renters insurance policy. Contact a California Casualty advisor today for a free, no hassle insurance policy review and comparison at 1.800.800.9410. You may also find you qualify for significant discounts and better coverage.
And, don’t forget your cars and trucks. For tips to make sure your vehicle is prepared for winter please visit http://mycalcas.com/2012/11/preparing-your-car-for-winter/.
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