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Prepare Your Home for Winter
Unfortunately, winter is around the corner. And that means this is the time to get your house ready for the cold weather. You can help ensure your family’s comfort and safety if you take care of a few things before the worst of winter gets here.
First, have your furnace serviced. This will help it run more efficiently – and less expensively. It also can help you avoid problems that could cause serious dangers, such as fire or carbon monoxide leaks. And while you are at it, change your furnace filter.
If your furnace is getting older, this might be a good time to talk to your heating expert about whether it would make sense for you to upgrade to a more energy-efficient furnace.
Next, check your pipes. The extreme cold of the polar vortex winter last year resulted in a greater than usual number of insurance claims involving frozen water pipes. Make sure that your pipes are either enclosed in a heated part of your house or sufficiently insulated to withstand severe cold.
Ironically, pipes are usually better protected in homes in northern climates, where freezing and subfreezing weather is expected. If you have a home in a warmer climate, pay special attention to whether and how your pipes are insulated from the cold. According to a study by the University of Florida, freezing of unprotected pipes can occur when the mercury drops to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
If despite your best efforts, you suspect that you have a frozen pipe, call a plumber. Although you sometimes can thaw the pipe yourself using a hair dryer, in most cases it is best to bring in an expert. Never try to thaw the pipe using an open flame; you could damage the pipe or cause a fire. If your pipe bursts, turn off the water to the house and call a plumber.
Finally, remember that if the weather gets really brutal, you can help avoid frozen pipes by letting the water drip very slowly from a faucet connected to any pipe you think might be in the greatest danger. You only need a small drip, but be sure the drip includes both hot and cold water.
At the Bensman Group, we are happy to talk with you about your insurance or other financial planning needs. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847-572-0820.