According to the Insurance Information Institute, winter results
in billions of dollars in damages to homes each year from burst
pipes, chimney fires, water damage and other hazards. General
Casualty offers tips to reduce these dangers (and resulting
- Inspect and professionally clean your fireplace chimney and
furnace annually. Check inside of chimney for creosote buildup, a
shiny black coating that can lead to chimney fires.
- Replace batteries in smoke alarms in the winter when house
fires are more common.
- Prevent damage to pipes and future costly repairs. Wrap pipes
with heating tape and check for leaks. Insulate unfinished rooms
containing exposed pipes. Remove hoses from exterior faucets, turn
off water and cover exposed spigots.
- Clean and repair gutters. Remove debris and check gutter joints
for cracks. Keeping gutters clean allows melting snow and ice to
flow freely and prevents water damage. Gutter guards help prevent
- Make sure heating systems are working properly. Setting the
thermostat at 65 degrees or higher helps prevent pipes from
freezing and bursting.
- Trim trees and remove dead branches. Ice, snow and wind can
cause weak trees or branches to break and damage your home or car
or injure someone on your property.