The last few weeks have proved that we can’t escape the inevitable winter weather. Like an unexpected guest, winter weather demands our attention, but a little preparation can make the experience more enjoyable. We know winter is here by the snowy sidewalks that require shoveling, icy roads that require extreme caution, and the increased heating bill that requires payment. In addition to hanging Christmas lights and putting an ice scraper in your car, have you thought about other precautions you can take to protect your home, business and car from winter weather and its effects?
Tips for your home:
- Clear gutters and cut branches. Although we’ve already experienced the first snowfall of the season, this year’s winter seems to be unsure of whether it wants to stay cold or warm up a bit. Take advantage of warmer weather to remove any branches that may be hanging over electrical wires and to clear your gutters of leaves and debris.
- Check your smoke detectors. Fireplaces and increased use of heat pose potential risk. Replace the batteries in your smoke detector in case of a fire.
- Inspect your furnace. Have a certified HVAC professional check your furnace and clean your ducts. If your home has a fireplace, make sure the chimney is cleaned and your firewood is easily accessible.
- Stock up on food. In case of a storm, have plenty of non-perishable food on hand. This includes food for you and your pets. Keep a case of water in your home as well.
- Drain water from pipes. Excess water in pipes can cause them to freeze and burst. Disconnect outdoor hoses and turn off valves that supply water to the outdoor access point.
Tips for your business:
- Stock up on salt. As a business owner, you have a duty to protect your employees and customers. Icy sidewalks pose serious risk to your customers and passerbys.
- Have an emergency action plan. Many businesses remain open despite bad weather. If your business is one of them, create an emergency kit and have supplies such as blankets, water, and food on hand for anyone who may be unable to return home during a storm.
- Consider investing in a generator. Protect your business and products with a generator in case your town or city experiences a power outage.
Tips for your vehicle:
- Change your oil. The oil in your vehicles changes depending on the outside temperature. If you live in an area, such as the northeast, where temperatures can get below freezing, consider switching to thinner, less viscous oil for the winter.
- Have your battery inspected. Check your battery cables for cracks and ensure your connections are snug.
- Switch to snow tires. Snow tires differ from all-season tires in their rubber composition and treads. Having the right tires on your car can make all the difference when traveling in snowy and icy weather.
- Have an emergency kit. As the weather continues to worsen, it’s important to keep essential items readily available in case your car breaks down or the roads are too bad to continue to your destination. Consider keeping a spare tire, blankets, boots, flares, and a flashlight in your backseat or trunk.
We want to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable Christmas season – if you have insurance questions, please contact us and we would be happy to help you protect the things you love.