Prepare your Home and Business for Winter

As we brace ourselves for the freezing winter weather, we wanted to share some tips on how to keep your home and business as safe as possible from our lovely New England weather! One of our companies, Arbella Insurance released a great article outlining the best ways to reduce the likelihood of a claim on your home or business, we have put together the top tips below!

When a storm is on the way

  • Keep an eye on other forms of insulation to reduce heat loss, to do so inspect doors and windows for gaps. Keep in mind if cold air is coming in, hot air is going out.
  • During extreme cold, winter storms and events, keep an eye on your roofs, gutters, and down spouts to reduce the risk of ice dams. Safely remove snow using approved methods, tools, and materials, such as a roof rake or hiring an insured professional roofer.
  • Falling branches can damage your roof, setting you up for potential heat leaks and high repair costs.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

  • Drain, winterize, and shut down all outdoor spigots and watering sources—before the cold sets in.
  • Those with attached garages, that get colder than you think – keep doors shut except those for exit and entry.
  • If you’re leaving your property for an extended period of time, consider shutting off the main water supply line and winterizing your appliances. A licensed, fully insured plumber can perform this work for you. Additionally, keep your heat on low and ask someone to check on your property regularly.
  • During particularly cold spells, consider opening kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around plumbing.

Heat and electric

  • Arbella notes that – even though counterintuitive – keep the heat on!  The cost of a water damage claim or electrical fire will likely far exceed anticipated additional energy costs should you end up with a burst pipe because you lowered your heat too much.
  • Ensure fresh air intake piping and exterior fuel connection points are free and clear of accumulating snow.
  • Those with a backup generator, don’t forget to test it in compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Remember: backup generators must never be operated indoors, and should be installed at a safe distance from your property.
  • Steer clear of seasonal fire exposures. Candles, fireplaces, and faulty equipment all pose risks.

How to prepare your business for winter

Just like your home, your business may need some extra preventative maintenance during the winter months. Consider these tips:

  • Mark the locations of your water mains and supply lines for easy shut down if needed.
  • Inspect and maintain your heating and electrical equipment to ensure it is in good operating condition.
  • Monitor snow loads to prevent potential roof collapse, especially for flat or low-pitched roofs. If you start to see accumulating or drifting snow piling up, professional roofers can help you keep your roof clean.
  • Ensure all exits are free and clear of snow and ice during and after snow events, maintaining adequate means of egress at all times.
  • Utilize only fully insured and reliable contractors for all snow removal, salting, and sanding of parking areas and walkways.
  • Make sure your staff is properly trained and capable of operating necessary equipment for snow removal, such as snow blowers. Document conditions before, during, and after events with checklists and digital imagery.

This information is from our friends at Arbella Insurance, one of the great, local companies that we represent.  As always, at Sterling Insurance Agency, we are here to help with any and all-weather related claims and questions, for auto, home, business and more! As the inclement weather is fast approaching feel free to give us a call at 978-922-6600 and one of our licensed agents can help you figure out the best next steps for you. For more information on keeping your home and business safe this winter, read the full article here!