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  • What are the best ways to prepare my home for winter?
  • December 13, 2013
  • Preparing home for winterBy Karla Sullivan

    Periods of extreme cold can also create emergency situations within your home of comfort, which many do not expect. Fireplaces, wood stoves, electric heaters, and old furnaces that are not checked regularly can be a hazard to you and your loved ones. Careful planning is necessary to keep your home comfortable. Besides obtaining a life insurance policy, there are many steps you can take to insure the safety of your family and pets.

    Windows, doors garage door, water pipes and roof:

    According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 10 percent of the air in a home leaks out of the windows.

    • Wash your windows to check for cracks and damage.
    • Caulk around your windows and use weather-stripping.
    • Storm windows should be installed over older windows.
    • Polyurethane sprays can be applied over old steel garage doors.
    • Garages should be insulated.
    • Roofs should be continually checked for missing shingles and other possible damage.
    • Pipes should be insulated if they are exposed to cold under freezing temperatures.

    Furnace:

    Have a professional inspect your furnace every year to make sure it is functioning correctly.

    • It is a good idea to have a carbon monoxide detector installed or checked as well as all smoke alarms.
    • Do change or clean furnace filters at least once a month. Filters will improve the airflow and heat efficiency.
    • Never use the oven to heat your home.

    Fireplaces, wood stoves and space heaters:

    The National Fire Protection Agency claims that over 66,000 house fires occurred in the US in 2008 that were due to electric heat sources.

    • Space heaters cause the most fires because they are generally too close to flammable material such as curtains or bedding.
    • Always turn them off when leaving the room.
    • Make sure a chimney specialist checks the flue every year
    • Install a screen around the fireplace to protect children or make sure doors are closed.
    • Check the gas fireplace switch and report any smells that are not typical.

    Snow and ice equipment:

    • Sodium chloride is the best to use since the de-icer, rock salt, generally does not work well in temperatures below 25 degrees.
    • Calcium magnesium acetate won’t harm the environment and less corrosive than salt.
    • Some use nitrogen fertilizer instead of salt, which is also less disruptive on the concrete and car.
    • Rubber heat conducting mats and ground thaw blanket heaters can also help melt snow.
    • Roof rakes are available for easy snow removal with extension handles.
    • Check snow blower for gas levels and efficiency.

    Winter blizzards and cold weather can create cozy hours at home to share together, snuggled in front of the fireplace and sipping hot chocolate. But homes that are not prepared for the inclement weather can create a disaster, threatening the lives within. All families should keep emergency kits and life insurance policies up-to-date, especially during this time of year.

    Life insurance policies are currently at an all time low so please contact your insurance specialist for more information.

  • Category: Articles Library, Life Insurance, Tips

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