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Winter is Coming

Sep 1, 2021

Protect your property from harsh winter wear

Your home is probably the most important investment of your life. It’s crucial that you protect this asset and other expensive personal possessions against deterioration caused by harmful winter weather. A few simple and affordable steps can help protect your property and your bank balance.

Many cash-strapped Americans are cutting back on spending, but you should keep an eye to the future growth and stability of your accounts. Today’s prudent investments that maintain your home’s durability could protect you from tomorrow’s financial catastrophes. The modest price of insulating exposed pipes, for example, is much less than the total cost of replacing burst pipes compounded by water damage to your home. If money is tight, try focusing on small investments and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. They’ll be worth the effort. For example, using a $3 tube of window caulking to seal cracks around the house will weatherproof your home enough to save much more in energy bills. Saving money in these ways can help you build financial wellness quickly.

Depending on your national region, the seasons can strike at your property in different ways.

The Pacific Northwest is known for its rainy days, and in winter that rain turns to ice and snow. Winterizing a home means waterproofing it from hard-driving rainstorms, but it can also suggest hiring a professional to install heated gutters that will stop ice from building up on your roof. Other protective steps, such as installing siding, might help protect you from disaster.

West Coast winterizing includes protecting your home from water damage due to leaky roofs or destruction wreaked by high winds. Prune large trees before a windstorm topples them or sends their branches flying. Be ready for power outages as electric companies shut down to protect from wind-driven wildfires. And follow guidelines to fireproof your home as much as possible.

Midwest winterizing often includes installing an emergency generator to survive extremely cold weather. Winter tornadoes are less common but deadlier. Many homes have an underground shelter. Make sure yours is well-stocked with emergency supplies. Be sure to maintain your snow blower and keep a snow shovel handy to mitigate dangers of snow and ice.

The East Coast is known for extreme weather, especially hurricanes in winter. Freezing winds can blast right through unprotected windows. Pipes can burst without proper protection. Boat owners should take precautions to protect their property. Take these 12 steps to ensure your home’s well-being through a snowy winter.

Southern states have many older homes that require specific steps to prepare for cooler or stormy weather. Registers and radiators in older homes can pose a fire threat if drapes and furniture are too close. Covering crawl space vents can keep your home warmer.

Save guesswork on critical maintenance chores by creating a personalized checklist, marking any special deadlines. Then spread those tasks throughout the year. For example, check and maintain your furnace each fall so you’ll never find yourself frantically paying out painful sums of cash for emergency services in January. Managing small tasks on an annual schedule will save you money and headaches when the weather turns cold.

Beware the so-called Storm Chasers who go door-to-door — salespeople who prey on fear by offering quick cures for winterizing your home with high-pressure sales tactics. Knowing the four signs of a scam can help you avoid financial disaster. Protect yourself and your property by researching people and products before you sign anything. You can find unbiased reviews on several websites, and the small fee paid to join your local consumer protection nonprofit could save you larger expenses later.

Is that old dishwasher cleaning out your bank account while it’s scrubbing your dishes? Your conditioner, furnace and other appliances can drain your savings quickly if you don’t maintain their energy efficiency. Being energy-efficient means that your appliance requires only minimal amounts of gas or electricity to operate well. Spend a few minutes learning about energy efficiency and the Energy Star program, and you’ll be glad when your appliance pays for itself in utilities savings.