Our area is expected to get snow and freezing temperatures for the first time this season. Here’s how you can prepare your house to protect it from the freezing elements.

Inside the house

When the temperature actually drops, here are some steps you can take to best protect you and your home during a cold snap.

  • Keep your house heated to a minimum of 65 degrees. The temperature inside the walls where the pipes are located is substantially colder than the walls themselves. A temperature lower than 65 degrees might not keep the inside walls from freezing.

  • Check the location for the main water shutoff in your home. And refresh your memory on—or learn—how it works, in case you have to use it.

  • Open both hot and cold faucets enough to let them drip slowly. In severely frigid temperatures, keeping water moving within the pipes will help prevent freezing.

  • Check that fireplaces, wood stoves and electric heaters are working properly. Make sure there are no combustible items near the heat sources and watch them closely, especially the first time in the season you use them.
  • Keep your fireplace flue closed when you’re not using it.

photo of man clearing his driveway in freezing temps after a snow

  • Ask a neighbor to check the house regularly any time you’re away. If pipes freeze or if there’s a water leak, quick action could mean far less damage. If you plan to be away for an extended period of time, have the water system—including swimming pool plumbing, if applicable—drained by a professional to keep pipes from freezing or bursting.

In the event of a problem

Sometimes the unfortunate happens—but quick action can minimize the damage. And if you have a standard homeowner’s insurance policy, it’s likely you’re covered for most deep freeze disasters.

  • Don’t wait for frozen pipes to burst. If your pipes are frozen, take measures to thaw them immediately, or call a plumber for assistance.
  • If your pipes burst, first turn off the water. You know now where the main water shut off is, right? Cut off the flow, then attend to the mess and …
  • Properly dry and repair any water damage. This will help prevent any potential problems with mold.
  • Call your insurance professional as soon as possible. He or she will help you understand what’s covered by your policy. And familiarize yourself with the claims filing process.

This article courtesy of the Insurance Information Institute