Following seasonal home maintenance tips helps your home maintain and improve its condition as well as value. Before the bitter cold hits, follow these winter home maintenance tips to keep your home and loved ones safe this upcoming Wisconsin winter.
1. Check your furnace prior to the first cold spell
Inspect and change your furnace filter per manufacturing recommendations. Also, consider the age and condition of your furnace. Modern heating systems can reach efficiencies as high as 98.5%, opposed to older furnaces which operate at 56% to 70% efficiency, according to the Department of Energy. Upgrading your heating system could reduce your energy bill significantly.
Make sure your home equipment like your furnace are protected from loss with equipment breakdown coverage.
2. Inspect your wood and gas fireplace
Aside from a heat source, fireplaces add a cozy feeling to the cold winter days but before your first fire of the season, make sure to give your fireplace a thorough inspection to mitigate risks. Over time, soot and creosote can build up in your home’s chimney, increasing the risk of a fire. The National Fire Protection Association reports that 28% of home heating fires could be attributed to a failure to clean chimneys. Follow these fireplace safety tips this winter and consider calling a certified chimney sweep who will clean the fireplace, firebox, liners, flue and chimney to remove flammable debris.
If you have a gas fireplace, the pilot lights should be relit according to manufacturer instructions. Gas fireplaces should also be cleaned and inspected by a qualified service technician.
3. Check your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors
Proper ventilation is especially important in the winter months when you are using the furnace and fireplace. It’s important to check the batteries in your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detectors routinely. Protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning with these safety tips.
4. Get your snow removal equipment ready
It’s Wisconsin, the now is coming (or already here). Make sure your shovel and snowblower are easily accessible. It’s important to keep sidewalks clear of snow and ice to prevent slips and falls, especially if you live in a high traffic neighborhood.
When the heavy snow loads come, you’ll want to be prepared to keep your roof clear of snow weight to avoid a roof collapse.
5. Prevent your pipes from freezing
Don’t turn the heat below 55 degrees in your house. In the cold winter months, pipes can freeze easily if they’re not properly insulated. To prevent frozen pipes, insulate pipes near windows, doors and in areas of your home that are unheated.
6. Review your home protection
With winter comes the end of another year. Take the time to review your home insurance each year with your agent to make sure you are properly protected. Learn what exactly is covered under a home insurance policy and what can affect your home insurance rates as you review.
As you look at protection for your home, it’s important to ask yourself “What would it cost to replace everything and build new today?” All homeowners should know the difference between replacement cost and actual cash value.
For more home maintenance tips, contact your local Rural Mutual Insurance agent. Stay warm Wisconsin!