The temperatures are dropping, the grocery is sold out of marshmallows and everything now comes in Pumpkin Spice. This can only mean one thing… it’s Fall in Tennessee! The time of year to protect your home for the coming winter.
If you’re like me, this is your favorite season. There’s nothing better than eating chili around a fire and watching the Titans barely escape letting yet another team come back in the fourth quarter. As you enjoy this season though, there are a few key things to do around the house that can save you headaches later. You have homeowners insurance to protect your home from life’s unexpected curveballs, but planning ahead can help prevent quite a few of those and better protect your wallet and your family this fall.
Put Away Your Hoses
If you’re done washing cars and watering lawns for the summer, then now’s the time to stow away that garden hose. If you leave your hose connected during the winter, it will have trace amounts of water remaining in it. That water can then easily freeze on a cold night and the frozen ice will spread up the hose into the spigot and into your pipe. Once in the pipe, the expansion can cause the pipe to burst to lead to lots of damage. For a little extra protection, these little covers on Amazon will make sure your spigot stays insulated all winter.
Winterize your Sprinklers
While you’re at it, if you have irrigation in your yard now is the time to winterize this as well. Winterizing cleans all of the water out of the lines for the same reason listed above. While mostly underground, during a hard freeze this water could turn to ice, expanding and leading to some crazy high water bills next summer. If you don’t have experience with this, hire a professional.
Clean Out Your Gutters
This one may take a few rounds depending on how many trees shed leaves near your home, but keeping your gutters clean is very important. Gutters filled with leaves and debris can get heavy with the weight of extra water. The extra weight can cause sagging, which causes more water to pool, which causes more sagging, etc. This can lead to water going to places other than where the gutter intended for it to go.
This is also the best time to cut back trees and shrubs away from the house as they have finished their summer growth cycle. Doing this early will likely help with the problem above regarding your gutters and diverting water away from the house.
Test Your Heat
Don’t wait for the first night that it’s 20 degrees outside to turn on your heat for the first time, only to find out it’s not working. It’s better to test it out on a temperate day and solve any problems before they are emergencies. Also, make sure you’re going to be home the first time you turn on your heat. The first time it kicks on there may be some smells as it burns off old dust collected, etc. Don’t freak out. But if you see or smell smoke, turn it off and call a professional. If you use a fireplace, test it out too, or have a professional do an annual cleaning/maintenance.
After nearly 20 years in insurance in Nashville, one thing I think I probably do more than most people is just “look around”. If you have a crawl space that you haven’t been in for a while, go down there with a flashlight and look around. Have an attic? Climb up there and look around. Pull out your fridge and look behind it. Open cabinets and look up in them. Walk outside to your HVAC unit and look around it. If you have closets or bedrooms you don’t go in often, open them up and look around also. What are you looking for? You’ll know when you see it! Problems don’t age well, so finding them early is important. Any signs of water or moisture where it’s not supposed to be are always something to check out. You might also find signs of animal or pest infestations, especially this time of year when everything is trying to get out of the cold into the warmth of your home.
Home Insurance is designed to protect your home Mayhem. But taking these important steps as a homeowner may help you prevent Mayhem before it ever happens. If you have questions about how your insurance can help you, give me a call at 615-861-2201, and I’d love to help.