Pre­vent these 4 win­ter home prob­lems now

Cecil Whig - - CECIL PEOPLE REAL ESTATE -

— When you start feel­ing those first hints of win­ter, the in­stinct to get ready kicks in. You may dig out your car’s snow brush, blan­ket, shovel and win­ter sur­vival kit and place them in the trunk of your car. The win­ter coats and boots come out of stor­age, and you may pick up some ex­tra mit­tens.

But what do you do to pro­tect your house against the haz­ards of win­ter? If you don’t take time for main­te­nance and win­ter­i­za­tion now, you can end up pay­ing for it later, in the form of higher en­ergy bills, frozen pipes or fix­ing a bro­ken fur­nace.

Here are four com­mon prob­lems that can hit home dur­ing the win­ter and how you can ward them off.

Sky-high en­ergy bills: Do your elec­tric bills rise dur­ing the win­ter­time? Heat­ing your home ac­counts for about half of your home’s en­ergy bills, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. De­part­ment of En­ergy. Com­bat the cold by seal­ing off any cracks or gaps with caulk and in­spect en­trances for worn or bro­ken weath­er­strip­ping. Sched­ule a fur­nace in­spec­tion with an HVAC con­trac­tor and con­sider in­stalling a smarter ther­mo­stat. Learn­ing ther­mostats can re­mem­ber your fa­vorite tem­per­a­tures, turn­ing down when you leave for work, and re­turn­ing to your fa­vorite temp at the end of the day.

Wa­ter leaks: Ac­cord­ing to the In­sur­ance In­for­ma­tion In­sti­tute, wa­ter dam­age

(BPT)

ac­counts for half of all prop­erty dam­age claims. Add win­ter’s freez­ing tem­per­a­tures to the mix, and you can end up with a big prob­lem if your home has a power out­age or your fur­nace mal­func­tions.

For ex­tra peace of mind, there’s now a leak and flood pro­tec­tion sys­tem you can pur­chase that shuts off your wa­ter main’s sup­ply when it de­tects leaks — and sends an alert to your smart de­vice. LeakS­mart Snap in­stalls in sec­onds with­out any tools or the need to cut into the main wa­ter sup­ply line. Wire­less sen­sors placed around the house can de­tect a leak or tem­per­a­ture changes and shut down the whole house wa­ter sup­ply in sec­onds. It is com­pat­i­ble with LeakS­mart Hub 3.0, which of­fers bat­tery back-up and built in Wi-Fi for 24/7 whole home pro­tec­tion.

Power out­ages: When a win­ter storm hits, the ice and wind can break power lines and in­ter­rupt the sup­ply of elec­tric­ity to our homes. It’s not un­com­mon for some out­ages to last for days, which is why it’s al­ways smart to be pre­pared.

Be­fore win­ter hits, make cer­tain your gen­er­a­tor or other backup power source has am­ple fuel and is in good work­ing or­der. Keep ba­sic sup­plies at the ready, so you can keep your fam­ily com­fort­able. Make sure you have ex­tra blan­kets, stock­ing caps, bat­ter­ies and fully charged power banks for your mo­bile phones. It’s also good to have a few gal­lons of fresh wa­ter and some cans of ready-to-eat chili and stew. If you have a camp stove, keep it in an easy-to-reach place, along with a fuel sup­ply.

Ice dams: An­other thing to watch for in the win­ter are pools of wa­ter form­ing on your roof. These can be caused by ridges of snow and ice, and even­tu­ally cause leaks to the in­te­rior of your home. Ice dams can also lead to the for­ma­tion of large, pointy ici­cles that hang from the gutters, which can fall and in­jure peo­ple.

A lit­tle work up­front can go a long way to­ward pre­vent­ing ice dams and the dam­age they can cause. First, make sure the gutters and down­spouts are clear of leaves and other yard de­bris, so the snowmelt has a place to go. Next, poke your head into the crawlspace of your at­tic and see if the in­su­la­tion layer is still thick enough to keep the heat from es­cap­ing through the roof. While you’re up there, look for gaps and leaks. Fi­nally, this is an ap­pro­pri­ate time to in­vest in a sim­ple snow rake, so you can eas­ily re­move wet, heavy snow from your roof be­fore the dams can start form­ing.

Now that you know the most com­mon win­ter haz­ards that can hit home, you can take the steps to pro­tect your in­vest­ment and keep your fam­ily com­fort­able and safe.

To learn more about pro­tect­ing your home, visit LeakS­mart.com.

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