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Tips To Make Your Home Safe From The Cold Weather

Posted on Jan 07, 2015

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and much of the country is experiencing severe and sustained cold weather.  Also, a lot of areas are seeing large snowfalls.  At some point in the near future many places will experience periods of melting and freezing which, in addition to the extreme cold itself, can cause considerable damage to homes.  This can also help prevent a personal injury and accident.

Here are some tips and steps from the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) you can take to keep your home safe and make insurance losses less likely during extended severe weather. 

  • Keep sidewalks and entrances to your home free from snow and ice.

  • Watch for ice dams near gutter downspouts. Keep gutters free of leaves and debris so melting snow and ice can flow freely. Ice dams can cause water to build up and seep into your house.

  • Keep the house heated to a minimum of 65 degrees. The temperature inside the walls where the pipes are located is substantially colder than the walls themselves. A temperature lower than 65 degrees will not keep the inside walls from freezing.

  • Identify the location for the main water shutoff in your home. Find out how it works in case you have to use it.

  • Open hot and cold faucets enough to let them drip slowly. Keeping water moving within the pipes will prevent freezing.

  • If you own a swimming pool and temperatures are expected to dip below freezing, run the pool pump at night to keep the water flowing through the pipes.

  • If you haven’t already, make sure all hoses are disconnected from outside spigots.

  • If your garage is attached to your house, keep the garage doors closed. The door leading to the house is probably not as well-insulated as an exterior door.

  • If ice forms on tree limbs, watch for dead, damaged or dangerous branches that could break and fall because of ice, snow or wind and damage your house, a car, or injure someone walking near your property.

  • If you use fireplaces, wood stoves and electric heaters, watch them closely and make sure they are working properly.

  • Remember to close the flue in your fireplace when you’re not using it.

  • If you have to leave your home on a trip, ask a neighbor to check the house regularly. If there is a problem with frozen pipes or water leakage, attending to it quickly could mean far less damage.

  • If you plan to be away for an extended period of time (or if temperatures are expected to remain below freezing), have the water system, including pool plumbing, have the water system drained by a professional to keep pipes from freezing or bursting.

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