Winter Checklist Winter is right around the corner and with the change in the weather comes a whole host of new challenges for homeowners. From leaky roofs, to icy driveways, it can be difficult to navigate around potential mishaps. We have compiled a list of helpful tips to keep your clients’ homes safe and sound this winter. Using a winter checklist can help insured’s avoid costly property damage and injury, making sure that this holiday season is a safe one. Inside •Check around windows for moisture or drafts This can indicate that the weather stripping around the sash of the window has been damaged. Check to see if the weather stripping is peeling or if chunks are missing. If you see any damage the weather stripping may need to be replaced. •Check the attic for gaps and leaks Check the inside of your attic for pooling moisture or drafts. A draft can indicate a damaged roof or a lack of insulation. Pooling moisture can indicate a damaged roof or a leaky pipe. Inspect the area if you find pooling moisture to determine if it is coming from the roof, or a leaky pipe overhead. •Exercise caution when lighting candles Candles can make beautiful festive decorations during the cold winter months. However, it is important to be cautious when lighting candles, especially as December and January are peak months for home fires. When lighting candles, use sturdy, well ventilated candle holders, keep candles at least one foot away from flammable materials, and above all else, never leave lit candles unattended. •Ensure that all smoke detectors are in working condition When testing a smoke detector, ask a member of your household to stand in an area of the house that is farthest from the smoke detector. This ensures that the alarm can be heard adequately from all areas of the house. Press and hold the test button on your detector, after a few seconds the detector should emit a very loud alarm. If there is no sound, or the sound is weak then the batteries may need to be replaced. •Clear all flammable items from around the furnace Clear out the area immediately surrounding the furnace, paying particular attention to ensure that flammable items are stored as far away from the furnace area as possible. •Make sure that your fire extinguisher is full and properly pressurized Household fire extinguishers can have life spans over a decade long. However, many of us may not know exactly when we made the purchase. To ensure that your fire extinguisher is operational, look at the pressure gauge on the side and if the needle is within the green area then the fire extinguisher is still usable Outside •Check the trees in your yard Look around your yard to identify any damaged overhanging branches that could potentially fall due to snowfall or during a storm. Consult a professional if you see any damaged overhanging branches that could potentially damage your home. •Clean and cover your air conditioning unit Make sure that your air conditioning unit is protected from the elements by putting a cover over it during the winter months. If you have a window mounted air conditioning unit, remember to remove it before the cold weather begins. •Clear and Inspect eaves Check your eaves to make sure that they are clear of leaves or debris so that they don’t collect water. Water trapped in eaves over winter can cause damage when temperatures drop and ice forms. Additionally, ensure that the eaves are securely attached to the house to avoid breakage during heavy snowfall. •Stock Up Ensure that you have a good supply of snow removal equipment such as shovels, sand and driveway salt. •Always clear snow and ice to reduce the risk of falling Make sure to shovel and salt your driveway and walkways after every snowfall to reduce the risk of dangerous slips and falls.