Winterization Tips to Prepare Your Home for More Than the Holidays

November 11, 2021

For many people, this is the most wonderful time of the year! With the holidays right around the corner, we’re starting to make our “to-do” lists. But before you buy the turkey or start chipping away at your gift list, you may need to address an area that’s frequently overlooked during the seasonal hustle and bustle: home winterization. It may not be top-of-mind as you scramble to keep up with your holiday schedule, but it certainly should be.

Winterize for the holidays — home or not

Whether you are traveling or staying home for the holidays, now is a good time to take some routine steps to winterize your home and make it safe for you and your family. At first glance, a winterization list can be rather daunting, but most of these home maintenance projects are standard, easy, and affordable.

  1. Clean the gutters. This allows melting snow to drain properly.
  2. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Change the batteries and test to make sure these are working.
  3. Check and clean your fireplace. Animal nests or creosote buildup can be hazardous. Hire a chimney sweep for annual cleaning.
  4. Perform furnace maintenance. Have your furnace inspected and ducts cleaned. To help your furnace function more efficiently, replace filters at least every three months.
  5. Winterize water pipes. Make sure pipes are properly insulated to prevent them from bursting.
  6. Block the cold. Inspect doors and windows for air leaks. Use caulking, foam insulation, or insulated curtains. Make sure attics and crawl spaces are properly insulated as well.
  7. Inspect the roof. Look for damaged or missing shingles, clear debris, cut back overhanging branches, and install snow guards.

For those who are traveling during the holidays, the risk of undetected losses is much greater.

According to Chubb Research:

  • One in five homeowners views internal water damage as the top risk to their home while they are away.

  • Only 22 percent of homeowners shut off their water main when away.

Water damage is one of the most common and costly causes of loss. As a result, the insurance industry encourages people to install water leak detection devices. A better option includes an automatic water shut-off feature which responds if a leak is detected. In addition to preventing catastrophic water damage, your insurance carrier may even offer a premium discount on your homeowner’s policy.

Many carriers have already researched and vetted water shut-off device vendors. In fact, many carriers have even negotiated a vendor discount for their clients. Check with your carrier in advance to see if they offer premium discounts or negotiated discounts. Here are a few vendors to consider:

You will need to know your water main pipe size to order the right product size. As with all plumbing updates, it’s important to hire a professional for installation.

Don’t forget to review your homeowner’s insurance policy

Whether you plan to spend the winter somewhere warm or at home in the Midwest, you should add a review of your homeowner’s insurance policy to your winterization to-do list.            

You may not think of including an insurance review in your seasonal preparations, but this step provides additional peace of mind and assures the proper protection of one of your biggest assets. Not all homeowner policies are equal. It’s important to understand the limitations and exclusions within your policy, so there are no surprises in the unfortunate event of a loss. Reviewing your policy with your insurance advisor helps make sure you’ve not only prepared your home for winter but also protected it with broad coverage and best-in-class claims service. To set up a consultation, please contact your Oswald insurance advisor.

For more information visit our Personal Risk page or contact:

Lisa Buehner
Senior Private Client Advisor, CPRIA, CISR Elite



Note: This communication is for informational purposes only. Although every reasonable effort is made to present current and accurate information, Oswald makes no guarantees of any kind and cannot be held liable for any outdated or incorrect information. View our communications policy.