IBHS’s Winter Weather Ready guide assists homeowners through winter prep
and post-storm recovery
Connie Bryant Breedlove
Managing Director, Communications
Mary Anne Byrd
Richburg, S.C., December 8, 2022 – Ahead of holiday guests’ arrival, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) encourages homeowners to take simple actions to get Winter Weather Ready to reduce the possibility of costly damage and lengthy repairs during the most wonderful – and busiest – time of the year.
“This is the ideal time to prepare your home for freezing temperatures before the first day of winter and the holiday rush,” said Dr. Ian Giammanco, lead research meteorologist at IBHS. “Being proactive about maintaining your home for the winter season with a few simple steps just ahead of plunging temperatures or the next ice or snowstorm can save headaches and dollars.”
Much of the damage caused by severe winter weather each year can be prevented by addressing vulnerable areas of the home. The nonprofit research organization offers budget-friendly tips for homeowners to do ahead of the season, as well as actions to take just before and after a winter weather event, in its free online Winter Weather Ready guide.
Steps to consider ahead of the season range from low-cost, do-it-yourself projects to larger improvements, including:
- Testing the heating system.
- Inspecting and sealing cracks and leaks in windows, doors and other exterior openings.
- Ensuring exposed pipes or water spigots are properly insulated.
- Inspecting the roof for damage or leaks.
- Clearing debris from gutters and downspouts.
- Trimming bushes and trees away from the house.
- Hiring a professional chimney sweep to clean out chimneys.
- Servicing generators in case of power outages.
- Having extra fuel on hand for generators and snow and ice removal equipment.
- Creating a home inventory by taking photos that are geo-tagged to make it easier to file a claim if you do experience a loss.
- Setting up multiple ways to receive weather updates to stay up to date on the weather forecast, as it can change quickly.
Inspecting a home after a storm has passed is also key in identifying possible signs of damage. When it is safe to do so, homeowners should:
- Remove snow from the home’s exhaust vent, garage and sheds, and contact a professional for snow removal from the roof.
- Look for snow load damage as evidenced by creaking sounds, a sagging roof, cracks in the ceiling, water stains on the ceiling or walls and/or doors that no longer open correctly.
- Check water flow at faucets to be sure they are not frozen.
- Assess downed trees or large limbs and enlist a professional for removal if needed.
- Apply deicer to walkways and the driveway to help prevent slips and falls.
- Contact your insurance agent right away if damage is found. Take pictures of damaged or destroyed property, keep receipts for repairs and create an electronic file using cloud storage to access the information from anywhere.
“In addition to ensuring time with family and friends won’t be interrupted, you’ll want to do everything you can to avoid damage during the holiday season when services for clean up or repairs may not be readily available,” added Giammanco.
For more ways to prevent damage from winter weather visit disastersafety.org.
About the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)
The IBHS mission is to conduct objective, scientific research to identify and promote effective actions that strengthen homes, businesses and communities against natural disasters and other causes of loss. Learn more about IBHS at DisasterSafety.org.