Winter Preparation & Damage Prevention Checklist

Publisher Rosen & Company, Inc.
Author Sara Rosen
PDF Version PDF Version
Winter Preparation & Damage Prevention Checklist
September 30, 2013

With the leaves still changing amidst a crisp fall breeze, it’s easy to dismiss the prospect of being affected by winter weather.  But make no mistake: once the seasons change, each of us is as vulnerable as the next.  Being a mindful and caring homeowner – and taking steps to prepare for severe winter weather before it happens – can help reduce your exposure to weather-related events and minimize possible damage to your home.

As Old Man Winter approaches, consider the following checklist to prepare your home for winter’s arrival:

  • Clean the chimney flue.Over 15,000 chimney fires occur annually.
  • Service your oil furnace to prevent a “puffback” explosion.
  • Keep your thermostat at 60 or above to prevent frozen pipes.
  • Ask someone to check your property if you are away for more than a few days.
  • Clean out gutters and downspouts of leaves and debris to prevent “ice dams” from forming.
  • Be cautious with temporary heaters.  Never leave them unattended, keep them away from drapes, furniture, and walls, and be sure the area is adequately ventilated.
  • Check the age of supply hoses to washing machines, dishwashers, icemakers, and air conditioners.
  • Turn off all exterior faucets including garden hoses, dry sinks, or outdoor kitchen sinks.
  • Winterize exterior irrigation systems to prevent freezing.
  • Consider installing Low Temperature Sensors to alert your alarm company when interior temperature drops below freezing.
  • Consider a backup generator capable of servicing your home when power is lost.
  • Install explosive gas leakage detectors, which can alert your alarm company.
  • Install carbon monoxide & smoke detectors, particularly near sleeping areas.
  • Insulate your attic (with proper ventilation) to avoid heat escape.
  • Consider an automatic water shut off system and make sure everyone in the house knows where the main water valve is.
  • Keep the driveway clear of snow so that fire trucks can pass easily. 
  • Clear heavy snow loads off the roof to avoid roof failure or collapse. 
  • Engage an arborist or tree professional to keep trees properly pruned and prevent falling branches from damaging property.

Sara Rosen is the Executive Vice President of Rosen & Company, Inc. For more information about Excess Liability and other insurance, please contact Rosen & Company at (914) 939-1200,, or visit us on the web at

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