Winter is here in the Midwest, and there’s one thing we know for sure from past years: it’ll be an unpredictable season. We want to help you keep your home in tip-top shape over the next few months. Make sure your family is prepared for everything from snowstorms to out-of-the-blue thaws by following this midwest winter maintenance checklist!
Winter maintenance tasks for inside your home
- Weatherproof your home’s doors and windows
Save on heating costs by making sure your home’s doors and windows seal completely to lock warm air inside. If you notice any drafts, add weatherstripping to the door or window’s frame, and consider using a door sweep (a long, skinny weighted pillow) as an additional layer of protection.
- Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries
You should be testing your smoke and carbon monoxide alarm batteries at least once per month and replacing them at least once per year. If it’s been a while, there’s no better time than just before the winter holiday cooking season to make sure your detectors are working properly.
- Prepare a winter storm home survival kit
A winter storm home survival kit can make sure your family is ready for whatever comes your way this season, even if the power goes out and the heat stops working. Include drinking water, non-perishable snacks, flashlights and batteries, blankets, gloves, extra boots, and a first-aid kit.
- Reverse your ceiling fans to run clockwise
Did you know that running your ceiling fans clockwise can actually push warm air down into the room, possibly saving you on heating costs? It’s an easy task with a big impact.
- Check your home’s water heater
There’s nothing worse than a broken water heater on a particularly cold winter morning. Check your home’s water heater regularly to make sure it’s still in top shape, and call in a professional if you notice anything out of the ordinary.
- Test your sump pump
Make sure your sump pump is working properly to keep your basement from flooding. If you notice any issues, contact a professional immediately — malfunctions that are considered to be from homeowner negligence are often not covered in your insurance policy!
- Clean your dryer hose and air vents
Minimize your home’s fire risk and improve its air circulation by cleaning out your dryer hose and air ducts.
- Check airflow between rooms and keep your heat on
This is paramount to prevent frozen and burst pipes that can cause significant water damage to your property. Make sure your home’s temperature stays above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, even if you’re out of town, and consider leaving under-sink cabinet doors open so warm air can flow around those pipes.
Winter maintenance for outside your home
- Make sure your gutters are clean
It takes less than an hour to clean the average home’s gutters — and it can drastically reduce your risk of experiencing a water leak because your roof can’t drain properly! Grab a ladder and a friend or family member to hold it steady, and make sure your gutters are clear of fall leaves, tree branches, and other debris.
- Inspect your home’s roof and siding
Do a quick lap around your home’s exterior and make sure there aren’t any cracks or holes that need to be sealed. Filling any openings will keep your home well-insulated to save on heating costs and also prevent pests like mice from taking shelter inside your walls. If you notice any small cracks, you can easily seal them on your own with a can of foam. For anything bigger, you’ll want to contact a professional to be safe.
- Trim tree branches around your home
Snow can build up on unstable tree branches and cause them to collapse onto your home’s roof, damaging your shingles. Inspect the trees on your property now and trim any questionable branches before they have a chance to get too heavy!
- Bring outdoor furniture inside for storage
Protect your patio and porch furniture from weather-related damage like rust and premature wear by storing them inside throughout the winter. Your attic, garage, or even a third-party storage space are a few great options.
- Check your snowblower and shovels
The last thing you want is to head outside one morning all bundled up and ready to clear the driveway only to discover that your snowblower isn’t working. Save yourself a headache down the road by making sure all of your snow-clearing tools are ready to roll ahead of time!
If you have any questions about what types of winter damage your insurance policies cover or just want to make sure you’re protected in this dangerous season, give your Lindow insurance agent a call! We’re always here to help.