With some of the season’s most frigid temperatures on the way, AAA Texas reminds homeowners and renters that preparing, and maintaining, your home for inclement weather is essential to helping avoid winter-related repairs.
AAA Texas says several days of below freezing temperatures can cause a ton of havoc on home’s heating system, plumbing and exterior features so maintaining your property during cold strikes is essential to reduce your risk of winter damage.
What You Can Do to Protect Your Home
- Remove hoses from exterior faucets.
- Repair or replace weather stripping around windows and doors, vents and fans, plumbing, air conditioners and electrical and gas lines.
- Use caulk or insulation to seal all cracks, holes and other openings on exterior walls.
- Let faucets drip a little bit to prevent freezing pipes.
- Well-insulated basements and crawl spaces will help protect pipes. Close foundation vents and windows to basements. Wrap vulnerable pipes with pipe insulation.
- Know where your water shutoff valve is so that you can turn off the water in case of an emergency.
- Air inside the walls, where pipes are, can be much colder than air in the room, so set the thermostat at a reasonable temperature, even if you will be away from home.
- Keep bathroom and kitchen cabinet doors open to let warm air circulate around the pipes.
- Close your wood burning fireplace flue damper when you’re not using it. Follow all manufacturer instructions for gas fireplaces including those with pilot lights, which may require the flue to be partial open at all times.
Winter Damages Covered by Homeowners Insurance
Winter comes with snow, and sometimes lots of it. If your roof collapses or is damaged due to the weight of snow or ice from a storm, a standard home insurance policy may cover the damage. Another threat to your home in the winter season are cold snaps. Water left standing in pipes when the temperature drops may expand with enough force to cause it to burst, leading to serious water damage if the issue isn’t immediately identified. Damage caused from burst pipes as well as the repair costs are covered by most standard home insurance policies, as long as regular maintenance is performed, and owners maintain heat in the building.
More Winter Liabilities
In addition to the above risks, slips and falls on your property are always a possibility in winter. Such incidents are likely covered by the liability coverage that comes with your home insurance policy, but it’s a good idea to double check with your insurance agent. If you do experience an incident like this, help with potential legal aspects may also be included in your policy.