With the warm summer months far behind us, it's time to prepare our homes for the harsh reality of winter. If you are a first time homeowner, you should know that preparing your home for winter safety goes beyond a visual inspection and a flick of the thermostat. And if you are a seasoned homeowner, you'll probably agree with a few of our suggestions below.
Four Easy Ways To Ready Your Home For Winter
Inspect Your Roof
The National Roofing Contractors Association ("NARI") recommends that homeowners get their roof inspected by a professional twice a year—once in the fall and once in the spring. But if there's been a hurricane, nor'easter or other major storm in your area, you'll want to inspect your roof as soon as it's safe. Even if no visible damage has occurred, it won't hurt to contact a reputable roofing company who can perform an inspection of your roof, and who will advise whether or not there are any repairs that need to be performed or if there are any changes you should make before the next round of inclement weather strikes.
During his inspection, your roofing contractor will check for any signs of leakage in the attic, look for missing fascia and loose or missing shingles and bent, detached and/or missing gutters and drains.
If your contractor recommends replacing your roof, you may want to get a second opinion / estimate. You may also want to check your roof's current warranty; it may not cover labor, but if it's still in effect, should cover materials.
Keep Homeowner's Insurance Current
Harsh winter weather brings with it an element of risk and uncertainty, whether it comes from snow, sleet or ice, damage to your property can occur, which is why it's so important to keep your homeowner's insurance current and up to date.
Storms are considered "acts of God" and therefore your rates cannot increase just for filing a claim, but you will need to file your claim in a timely manner in order to be eligible for coverage (of course when filing a claim you'll still be responsible for paying your deductible). Once your claim is filed, your insurance company will send an adjuster to your home to assess the damage and recommend next steps, such as contacting a contractor who specializes in storm restoration.
By the way, make sure you photograph or film the damage as soon as it's safely possible, and keep any receipts for purchases you made relative to fixing the damage before your claim is paid out so you can be reimbursed by your insurance carrier.
Check Doors And Windows
Before frosty weather makes itself a regular visitor, be sure to check the condition of your doors and windows. Doors and windows become damaged and drafty over time, and in turn may increase your energy bill. It's a sensible precaution to perform an inspection of every door and window on your property. What to look for?
If you believe you have any of the above mentioned issues with your doors or windows, give a professional a call for an estimate on upgrading them. Swap old, single pane windows for vinyl double or triple pane ones, and a steel or fiberglass energy-efficient entry door. In addition to a lower energy bill and a cozy home interior, you will also enjoy at least a 70% return on your investment!
Service Your Furnace
Did you know that fireplaces, chimneys and your furnace are a few of the biggest culprits when it comes to fires at home? Make sure you have your furnace and fireplace inspected and serviced by a professional before you crank up the heat. If you want to inspect the furnace yourself, you can start by checking out the filter. Is it dirty or clogged? If so, simply replace it. A clean filter isn't there just to keep your air clean; it's there to help your furnace run more efficiently, too. Additionally, install a carbon monoxide detector (if you don't have one already) and test it at least twice a year; same holds true for smoke detectors.
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