Winterizing your Home and Enjoying the Holidays Safely

This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish

By Perry Salvagne

Hodge Insurance Agency, Inc.

Holiday season is now in full swing and like every year, people are now scrambling to buy gifts, decorate their homes and close out their business for the year. Amidst all of the sloppy weather and traffic on the roads, it’s also very important to find time to winterize your home and prepare for a safe holiday season.

If you haven’t already done so, make a list and check off steps for winterizing your home. This process does not take long, will save you money on your energy bills and can help avoid costly damage to your home:

  • Clean your gutters to avoid blockages that could lead to ice and water backup.
  • Use an A/C cover to cover any wall-in units, preventing drafts.
  • Seal any known air leaks, be it a recessed light or windows and doorframes, to prevent costly drafts.
  • Be sure to insulate the floor of your attic. Warm air escaping into the upper spaces above a living area is one of the main causes of ice damming.
  • Check your furnace to ensure it is working properly and replace filters for increased safety and efficiency.
  • Clean and repair ductwork to avoid air blockages and buildup of particles that can cause respiratory problems.
  • Install storm windows or insulated windows, or use insulating plastic sheeting to seal off your home efficiently.
  • Have your chimney cleaned and inspected annually to avoid buildup that could cause fires or deterioration. Use fireplace screens or doors to avoid errant embers escaping the hearth.
  • Reverse ceiling fans to push warm air down. This will help keep heating costs down.
  • Wrap pipes located in the home’s extremities, i.e. those with the highest chance of freezing, rupturing and causing water damage. Likewise, be sure to shut off the outside hose line for the winter.
  • Make sure your fire and carbon monoxide alarms are working properly and that you have a properly functioning fire extinguisher on each floor.

When it comes to getting set for the holidays, there are a few additional safety tips:

  • Be sure to pick a freshly cut Christmas tree; a dry tree can catch fire more easily. Cutting the bottom of the tree will increase its ability to absorb water and keep it fresh longer. Place the tree in a secure stand and away from any heat or open flame sources.
  • For lights—both on and off the tree—be sure to unplug them when sleeping or away from home. Do not plug too many cords into one outlet. Avoid using indoor lights for outdoor use.
  • Never leave space heaters unattended, and keep a clear area around them.
  • Keep small ornaments or toxic decorations—such as holly and mistletoe—out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Be especially careful when using candles, never leaving them unattended, and never falling asleep with any still burning.
  • When it comes to entertaining, make sure the driveway and walkway are well lit and clear of any ice or snow.
  • Also be aware that shopping season = stealing season. I’ve personally had two homes and a vehicle burglarized and robbed (not in Danbury!) during the holidays; make sure your home is well secured and consider installing an alarm system. The money saved on insurance can significantly help offset the costs.

To best protect your family and home, follow these few preventative safety guidelines during the holidays, and take a few minutes to winterize your home before the bad weather really hits; you’ll end up enjoying the festive season stress-free and with more money in your pocket for those gifts!

To obtain a quote or simply ask an insurance-related question, please feel encouraged to call us at Hodge Insurance, (203) 792-2323. We have agents and representatives able to speak to you in English, Portuguese or Spanish.

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