If you live in California, then you know how the winter rains can be sudden and surprisingly intense. So it makes sense that part of preparing for the winter months ahead should include reviewing your insurance coverage – especially whether or not you have flood insurance. Although the weather is still a bit mild, now is the time to take some simple steps to protect your home against many winter-related disasters! Inside your home:
- Have your heating/ AC system checked, replace or clean filters
- If your water heater is warm to the touch, it most likely needs more insulation
- Speaking of insulation – dont forget the attic!
- Summer dries out weather-stripping, check if yours need to be replaced
- Check windows for cracks
- Don’t forget the chimney-have it inspected & cleaned before you start that first fire! And keep the damper closed when not in use. Be sure to check the roof-line and cut back any tree branches that hang directly above the fireplace chimney!
- Make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are properly working
- Make sure you have a fire extinguisher on hand
- Check all faucets & tubs for any leaks.
- Reverse your ceiling fans – in winter your blades should be turning clockwise
Outside your home:
- Check the foundation – seal entry points & cracks to keep rodents out (mice can crawl through a space as thin as a dime!)
- Check your roof for possible leaks – especially around skylights
- Clean out the drains/ gutters of any debris – maybe even install gutter guards
- Locate the water main, just in case of an emergency that needs a quick shut-off
- Adjust exterior grade – everything should slope away from the foundation for proper drainage. Make sure all drainage ditches are clear as well
- Check retaining walls, to make sure they are doing their job
- Trim trees so they don’t overhang your home
- Seal any wooden decks to prevent rot
- Disconnect outside hoses & turn off outside faucets that are no longer in use (you don’t want them to freeze!)
- Turn off, or reset, your automatic sprinklers & drip systems if the rain is keeping the area watered for you
- Change timers on exterior lights – it’s darker later these days!
- Caulk around windows, doors, pipes, exterior outlets and/ or any other place where cold air can seep into your home
**There’s one last thing you should consider – – prepare an Emergency Kit! If you don’t already have one, go out and buy a large plastic bin (with handles for easier mobility) and store the following items:
- Flashlight and batteries
- Candles and matches (or a lighter)
- Battery-operated radio (some can even charge a cell phone!)
- First-aid kit
- Bottled water
- Non-perishable food items – to include pet food, if you have any pets
- Manual can opener
- Plastic utensils
- Paper towels
- Any other items you feel might be necessary
Now that your home is properly winterized, and you have an emergency kit, you can enjoy the winter months safely & confidently knowing you are prepared!
— Miss Lisa “Insurance” Doughty, PRANDI Property Management, Office Coordinator