Protecting your home is vital in the winter months. A frozen water pipe can burst and flood your house. An ice dam in your gutter can cause water to seep into and saturate an interior walls of your home. Here is a list from Nationwide insurance that they advise their homeowners on during the winter months to prepare their homes for the cold.
- Clean out the gutters, disconnect and drain all outside hoses. If possible, shut off outside water valves.
- Insulate walls and attics, and caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
- Repair roof leaks and remove tree branches that could get weighed down with ice or snow and fall on your house – or your neighbor's. (Avoid liability for the latter.)
- Wrap water pipes in your basement or crawl spaces with insulation sleeves to slow heat transfer.
- Consider an insulated blanket for your hot water heater.
- If you have a fireplace, keep the flue closed when you're not using it.
- Have a contractor check your roof to see if it would sustain the weight of a heavy snowfall.
- Make sure your furniture isn't blocking your home’s heating vents.
- During cold spells, keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes, particularly those in the kitchen and bathrooms.
- Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces.
- If your house will be unattended during cold periods, consider draining the water system.
- Avoid ice dams– where water from melted snow refreezes in the gutters and seeps in under the roof, soaking interior walls. Here’s how:
- Ventilate your attic.
- Insulate the attic floor well to minimize the amount of heat rising through the attic from within the house.
- Consider having a water-repellent membrane installed under your roof covering.
If you do find that you have damage to your home, the Insurance Information Institute has published some tips on what to do in the case of a winter storm and managing the damage to your home.
- Take pictures of the damage immediately. If you have "before" pictures, that's even better. Those pictures will help ensure that your insurer cannot claim that the problem was preexisting.
- Make temporary repairs to keep the damage from getting worse but hold on to all of your receipts.
- Don't make pricey repairs before the insurance adjuster arrives.
- Don't assume something is not covered. Take out your policy. Most weather-related damage like burst pipes, a collapsed roof and ice dams are covered.
- Call a reputable company to come and help with any damages to your home. Choose a company that will work with your insurance company.
SERVPRO of Elmhurst is here to help in your time of need for all your winter storm damage needs. Give us a call at 630-758-1701. We work with your insurance companies to make it “Like it never even happened.”