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Jan 09 2019

The Bearingstar Guide to Winter Home Maintenance

With winter winds and snow storms just around the corner, you’re likely getting ready to spend a lot more time cozied up inside your home. While winter can be a relaxing season, it also poses a number of potential threats to your home. Here at Bearingstar Insurance, we want to make sure your family is able to worry less this winter, which is why we put together this gude of simple measures to take today to prepare your home for the colder weather.

Avoid Chimney Fires

There’s no better way to beat the cold than cozying up in the warmth of your fireplace — just make sure you’ve taken the proper precautions first to keep your home and family safe.

  • Debris such as leaves and pine needles can build up on your roof, creating kindling that can spark a fire. Be sure to keep your roof clean of leaves, pine needles, and other debris left over from the fall that could cause a fire.
  • Cover your chimney with a screen spark arrestor to further protect against the possibility of a fire starting. Spark arrestors are relatively inexpensive and available at most hardware stores.
  • If your fireplace does not have a glass screen or door, be sure to use a metal screen to ensure stray sparks don’t find their way onto your living room floor.
  • Schedule a chimney cleaning to ensure your chimney is clear of debris.

Stop Ice Dam Debacles

Winter means snow, and snow plus freezing temperatures means ice. When ice builds up at the edges of a sloped roof, usually at the drains and gutters, it creates a dam-like effect that forces water back under the roof and into your home. Here are a few simple tips and measures you can take to ensure this doesn’t happen at your home.

  • Keep your heat at a minimum 65° to help avoid water freezing issues.
  • Install a water repellent membrane under your roof covering.
  • Replace recessed light fixtures near your roof with alternatives such as hanging lamps.
  • Keep your attic well ventilated and your attic floor well insulated to avoid the heat from your home from rising and potentially causing the ice on your roof to melt rapidly.
  • Make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and debris before winter kicks into high gear.

Avoid Heating Hazards

Staying warm is key to enjoying the winter months and that means turning up the heat, lighting the fire, or turning on that space heater. Just be sure to take these simple precautions to avoid the threat of a heating related fire this winter.

  • Keep all flammable materials, cloths, blankets, bedding, etc. away from heating equipment.
  • Never use your gas oven to heat your home.
  • Make sure to service your furnace regularly.
  • Always plug space heaters directly into an outlet — never plug these into surge protectors as that can increase your fire risk.

Prevent Bursting Pipes

There’s no larger winter headache for a homeowner than having to deal with burst pipes. When water freezes in a pipe, pressure can build between the ice blockage and the closed faucet at the pipe’s end, causing the pipe to burst at its weakest point. Take these measures to minimize your risk of a frozen or burst pipe, and ensuing water damage.

  • Keep your cabinet doors open to keep warm air circulating around pipes.
  • Apply insulation sleeves or wrapping to exposed pipes.
  • Drain all water systems when/if your home will be unattended.
  • Use caulking to seal cracks and holes in walls and foundations near water pipes.
  • Make sure your thermostats are always set to at least 55°

No matter what the winter months throw your way this year, your friends at Bearingstar are here to help. If you have any questions regarding home winterizing tips or your home insurance policy, a Bearingstar Insurance agent is happy to help! Visit our website to connect with a local agent near you: http://bit.ly/2Kdp2vm

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