house in winter

First-Time Homeowner? Prepare for the Impending Winter Weather With These 4 Tips!

We’ve been pretty lucky with the winter weather so far. It’s mid-January and we around the St. Louis region have seen maybe one snow event in certain spots and have enjoyed warmer weather than usual, aside from one or two cold snaps. Soon, though, the winter weather will come crashing in, and we will face big freezes and possible snowstorms and ice.

If you’re a first-time homebuyer and this is your first winter in your home, you might not know exactly what to do. Conquer the impending winter weather by following these 4 tips!

Make a Winter Emergency Kit – First thing’s first – make yourself a winter emergency kit! It’s very much like the all-purpose emergency kit that you should have in your home in case disaster strikes, but it includes a few additional items. Your winter emergency kit should include a supply of food, bottled water, medication for all family members and pets in your home, windshield scrapers, road salt and sand, additional hats and gloves, and additional batteries for radios to keep up with the news.

Keep Sidewalks, Stairs, and Banisters Clear – Before a storm hits, make sure to treat your sidewalks and stairs with ice-melting salt. Ensure that your stairs and sidewalks are in good shape and repair any that aren’t. If you are shoveling, take it easy out there, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition. Go slowly and take frequent breaks, and wear plenty of loosely-fitting clothing to keep you warm.

Inspect Your Furnace – No one wants to be without heat whenever the cold of winter creeps in. Before the weather makes a turn for the worse, get your furnace serviced by a professional. Remember to check the filter every month and replace it if it’s dirty. Typically, you will want to replace the filter once every 3 months so that your furnace will work efficiently.

Stay Safe If the Heat Goes Out – Sometimes not even all of the preparation in the world can prevent the heat from going out, especially if a blizzard or a strong wind comes along and knocks out the power. Should you lose power, stay safe by piling on plenty of clothing and using alternate heat sources with caution. Resist the urge to turn on the oven as a source of heat – it can put you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. If you have a fireplace, be sure to use a metal screen in front of its opening to prevent fires.

Taking these 4 big precautions this winter can help keep yourself, your loved ones, and your home safe from the harsh cold and elements that winter presents. Remember, too, to check in with your insurance agent here at Madison Mutual to see if it is up-to-date by calling 1-800-766-MMIC!