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Your Winter Home Maintenance Guide by Savvi

Top Winter Preparedness Tips for Your Home

With hot cocoa, snowmen, and crackling fires, winter is one of the best times of the year. It can also be one of the most dangerous times with snowstorms, cold temperatures, and...well, crackling fires. So get your home ready for the harsh weather with these top winter preparedness tips!

Inspect your property

Tree limbs and branches can damage your roof and give critters a way into your home. Make a note of branches you need to trim and then get out the sheers! If you see any trees that look dangerous, contact a professional to investigate or remove, and always call a professional to handle jobs outside of your comfort or ability zone.

Be on top of roof maintenance

Ice dams can cause some serious damage to your home by sending water under your roof’s shingles and into your attic or crawlspace. Here at Savvi, we believe that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so stop ice dams from forming by completing these quick home maintenance tasks:

  • Clear your gutters in late fall/early winter after the leaves fall to prevent clogs from forming.

  • Clean your downspouts and make sure they are sending water away from your home.

  • Complete a visual inspection of your roof.

  • Check your eaves and attic for any damp spots or damage.

  • Invest in a snow rake to clear any heavy snow that settles during the season.

If you see any issues with your roof, such as missing shingles, you’ll need a professional roofer to take care of the job.

Savvi bridges the gap between problem detection and problem resolution. We can connect you with a nationwide network of verified service professionals who can be on your doorstep immediately and start the process of making things right again. This gives you the peace of mind knowing that you hired a pro who has been vetted and is held to the highest industry standards.

Mind the gap

If your walkways and driveway are already cracked, then snow and ice can get inside and expand the gaps. If you have a dry day, grab patching mix and a bonding agent to fill the cracks and strengthen the integrity of your busy areas.

Prep your outdoor HVAC unit

Though most condensing units are built to survive the winter months, the harsh weather can still threaten your summer relief with debris and water damage. A simple sheet of plywood and bricks or rocks on top is enough. Do not cover the whole unit.

Let it snow!

Have you inspected your snowblower this year? Some of the parts can wear and crack, putting you at risk. Before starting your snowblower, make sure to:

  • Inspect the belts and replace if cracked or damaged.

  • Check the shave plate and replace if worn.

  • Replace the shear pins if broken.

If you have a gas-powered snow blower, check the spark plugs, change the oil, and add fresh gas with a stabilizer.

If you have an electric snow blower, make sure the batteries are charged and ready to go. Also, don’t forget to clear any items around property, so you won't have to do that once snow and ice fall.

Clean your fireplace

A clogged or dirty fireplace can easily lead to a house fire or carbon monoxide poisoning, so schedule a professional inspection and cleaning annually. Also, be safe when using a fireplace and practice proper safety precautions, such as keeping fireplace tools stored, never leaving your fireplace unattended, and only using dry wood in a wood fireplace. (Wet wood can create additional soot and creosote buildup, which is also a fire hazard.)

Savvi provides our policyholders with smoke and fire detectors since undetected fires can destroy a home in minutes. Being alerted to a fire before you smell the smoke is critical, so you and your family can escape safely. Savvi’s detectors are equipped with a 85dBm alarm and send alerts to your smart phone and our 24/7 monitoring center for rapid action from first responders.

Change your air filters

You had your HVAC and furnace inspected and serviced in the fall, right? (If you didn’t, do so now!) Then keep on top of HVAC maintenance by cleaning or replacing those air filters as needed. You’ll not only keep your system running efficiently and safely, but you’ll also help to keep pet dander, pollen, and dust out of the air.

Replace your insulation (as needed)

Poor insulation can lead to many issues around your home, including ice dams, mold, and cold toes. While insulation can last a long time, annual checks and upkeep can lower your utility bills and keep your home warm.

Here are a few quick tips to help you maintain your insulation:

  • If you see the ceiling joints, it's time to add more. Insulation should be at least a foot or more thick in the attic.

  • Attic and pipe insulation can degrade over time, which can lead to ineffectiveness. Check these areas more frequently.

  • Add new insulation to existing insulation.

  • New insulation should be laid perpendicular to the first layer.

  • Recess lightning should not be covered.

If you plan for this to be a DIY project, dress for the occasion as insulation can be harmful to your lungs and skin. Cover yourself from head to toe – goggles, a dust mask, long pants, a long-sleeve shirt, and gloves. Of course, when in doubt, hire a professional.

If you are moving into an older house, it is a good idea to have your insulation checked for proper thickness and R-value. (Each type of insulation is rated with an R-value, which indicates how well it prevents the movement of heat.)

Flip the switch on your ceiling fan

Reversing your fans during winter is a great way to save money on heating as it keeps the warm air where you need it most. By flipping a switch, your fan should rotate clockwise and recirculate the heat around the room. This is exceptionally important for living areas with high or vaulted ceilings, where hot air can linger.

Seal up your home

Seal up your windows and doors with caulk or foam or rubber strips that can stop air leaks. It only takes a few minutes to install per window or door, but if you're still seeing a lot of air loss by your doors, look to replace the threshold or the sweep. Garage doors can also let air out, so you might want to invest in door sweep for that, too.

Check your sump pump

If you didn’t get your sump pumps checked during your annual plumbing inspection, inspect them now. Make sure they are plugged in and working, and if you haven't cleaned them this year, you should call a professional to do so.

Get ready for a power outage

As the demand for power increases, so does the number of power outages. Be prepared to endure at least one power outage this season by putting together an emergency kit. Your kit should include non-perishable food and water (one gallon per person per day) for at least three days.

It should also include:

  • Chargers (for phones).

  • Batteries.

  • Medicines.

  • Flashlights.

  • First aid kit.

  • Money.

  • Toiletries and personal hygiene supplies.

  • Protective gear.

  • Blankets.

  • Boots.

  • And warm clothing.

If you took any of these items out during the year, replace them and make sure your current food and batteries are in date. You should also consider a generator, which can help to keep your home warm and the water flowing through your pipes.

Stay safe this winter and all year long with the help of Savvi Insurance Group!

Savvi Insurance Group, Inc., based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is committed to helping families and individuals prevent losses, stay safe, and protect the people and things they love. We do that by providing our customers with our cutting-edge smart home security system along with a suite of services and benefits designed to proactively predict and prevent losses from happening in the first place.

We then back that up with comprehensive, modernized insurance protection and concierge-style claims handling, at prices that recognize and reward the benefits of a smarter, better protected home.

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