This post is sponsored by Babbleboxx.com on behalf of Erie Insurance.
There’s no denying it friends: Winter is on its way!!! Although, the first official day of winter isn’t until December 21st, for many of us it’s already here, and came as much as a month early this year! Mother nature made that clear with the blizzard many of us Midwesterners faced last week after the holiday, with some experiencing as much as a foot of snowfall! In my home state of Illinois, this was followed up with the largest December tornado outbreak in history, with a record 22 tornadoes! In our household we’ve been working on winterizing and preparing for the crazy weather, in an effort to lower our energy bills, save on costly repairs, and protect ourselves from accidents such as home heating fires. Erie Insurance has tips to help prepare your home inside and out to keep you and your loved ones safe.
DOORS AND WINDOWS
To prevent drafts from loose fitting doors, like our new entry door, you can get a slide on door seal or draft guard at your local hardware store. We just did this and installation couldn’t have been quicker and easier. Another item on our to do list to prevent drafts is replacing the worn weather stripping on our back sliding door. Finally, we will add peel-and-stick insulation film to the old windows in my daughter’s room, which gets really cold in the winter. If you’re like me you’re not crazy about the appearance of insulation film on the windows, BUT it keeps up to 70% of the heat from escaping through the windows in my baby’s room, so that makes it worth it.
Before you turn up the heat for the season, you should start by cleaning or changing your furnace filter. This is something that should be done every two to three months. If you’re like I used to be, you NEVER remember to change your air filter. My dad had to constantly remind me. Now my husband and I use Filter Easy. With this subscription service, we have air filters delivered straight to our door when it’s time to change them, which helps us stay on schedule. We have a brand new furnace, but Erie Insurance also recommends having an HVAC professional check your furnace once per year, as well as your heating ducts for leaks and efficiency.
SMOKE/CARBON MONIXIDE DETECTORS
When you’re in the process of prepping your house for the long winter, it’s also good to make a point to test the batteries in all of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure that they are working. My daughter’s school just did a practice drill with the fire department, who spoke to their class afterwards about the increased risk of fires in the winter, and gifted all of the kids with smoke detectors. We followed up at home by installing the new smoke detector, and then coming up with a family escape plan in the event of a fire at our house. I would encourage you to make sure that you have a plan in place for your loved ones and that you’ve practiced it with them. You can create one using the National Fire Prevention Association’s online guide.
Start by cleaning leaves and debris from your gutters and downspouts, or putting it on your honey’s to do list. We’ve already done this once this season but need to do it again a second time. Then I want to install a gutter guard to filter debris and prevent our gutters from sagging and leaking. Clogged gutters and subsequent water issues can cause foundation problems, wall and ceiling damage, and even insect infestations…no thanks! Just make sure you do this safely. Use a tall, sturdy ladder. Never stand on the top rungs! And don’t forget the protective eyewear, gloves, and long sleeves.
TREES AND LANDSCAPING
It’s also a good idea to trim your trees, especially branches that hang near electrical wires, before they become a problem. Also, educate yourself on how to spot the signs of a diseased or dying tree. Heavy snow and strong winter winds can knock down weak branches, or entire trees! So we try to do the home maintenance work while the weather is still mild. Trust me, your neighbors will thank you! Because, what falls in your yard is generally your responsibility.
SNOW REMOVAL SUPPLIES
Lastly, we try to think ahead and stock up on snow removal supplies early. Stock up on ice melt. Make sure your snow shovel is in good shape. Invest in a snow rake to help clear snow off of your roof, because it it exceeds 20 pounds per square foot it can be very dangerous. And if you’re lucky enough to own a snow blower, you may want to inspect the parts and make sure it’s in good working order as well.
If you’ve followed my blog and Instagram for a while, you know that from weekend projects to major renovations, we’ve worked very hard, and invested a great deal, to make our house a home. If despite all of our precautions, something does still happen, we trust that our homeowners’ insurance will protect us. Erie Insurance can help keep you protected too! Click here to visit their website to for the full checklist for winterizing your home.