Winter, the coldest season of the year. The days are shorter and the nights are longer. It’s also a season that can cause significant damage to your home if you’re not prepared. None of us can stop the onset of winter, but we can help you prepare. Here are our tips for keeping your home, car, and health in good shape this winter.
Winter in North America this year is expected to be largely affected by El Niño, which occurs when the waters in the Pacific Ocean are warmer than normal. The effects will impact Atlantic Canada, the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes, Eastern Ohio Valley in the United States, and beyond. It’s essential to prepare for the weather ahead of time before it’s too late. Are you ready for the worst of winter?
In order to prepare for the winter months, check your heating system by inspecting smoke detectors, fireplaces, and chimneys. Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is more common in the winter due to additional methods of heating that are used, most of which produce CO. Install a detector and check the batteries twice a year. It’s also important to clean your gutters, repair roof leaks, and insulate water lines that run along exterior walls to prevent flooding and water damage.
Wind, hail, frozen pipes, snow, and fires are all major risks in the winter. Claims due to wind damage are the most common homeowner claim and it may not always be covered by your homeowners insurance. Hail can do serious damage to your roof, siding, and porch. If the water in your pipes freezes, the ice can expand and burst the pipes. This can cause serious water damage in addition to water loss. Many insurance companies will not cover water damage unless someone is checking the heat every few days. Snow more than 1-2 feet deep or 4 inches of ice can be heavy enough to crush your roof or break large tree branches. Fires are also more common in the winter due to the dry air and additional use of heating and fireplaces.
In Canada, there is a 3-5 percent rise in car accidents during December and January due to snow and ice. Every year nearly 900 people are killed and almost 76,000 people across the United States are injured in vehicle crashes during snowfall or sleet. The materials, treads, and channels in winter tires are extremely helpful in reducing crashes, so change your tires once the temperature is regularly 7 degrees Celsius or less. It’s also important to refill your antifreeze and keep an emergency kit in your car.
We recommend keeping the following in your emergency kit:
- A cell phone and portable charger
- A blanket
- Food and water
- A first aid kit
- Booster cables
- A flashlight
- A snow brush and ice scraper
Cold weather can increase your risk of a heart attack and cause hypothermia and frostbite. The cold weather makes many of us want to stay inside, binge-watch TV, and eat snacks, but being sedentary can have lifelong effects on your health. So how do you stay healthy in the winter? Wash your hands as often as possible and boost your immune system with sleep, exercise, and a balanced diet.
How Encircle Can Help
More than 50% of home insurance claims are the result of winter wind, hail, and weather-related water damage. Whether you’d like to document your home exterior or do a full home inventory in case your pipes burst, Encircle is here to help.
Download Encircle’s free home inventory app onto your Android or Apple mobile device: