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Sr. Public Relations Specialist, MD
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TOWSON, MD (November 9, 2017) –– Marylanders will be getting a taste of winter weather this week, as overnight temperatures are forecasted to drop as low as the twenties in some areas of the state.
AAA Insurance is advising residents to start focusing on preparing their home now before the weather becomes inhospitable. “This week’s forecast for frigid overnight temperatures is a reminder for residents not to delay preparing their home for winter weather,” said Welaine Memenza, Manager, AAA Insurance Agency. “Check some of the important winter preparedness actions off your to-do list for your home each weekend in the weeks ahead. When the storms hit, you’ll be glad you did.”
Winterizing your home can save you money, lower your home heating costs, and increase your comfort zone before winter arrives. Winter storms can wreck your home.
Also do an insurance checkup. In 2016, winter storms in the U.S. resulted in an estimated $1 billion in losses, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Ice, snow, rain and wind are all potential dangers for your dwelling place and the lives and safety of its occupants.
“Home winterization is a collection of preventative measures designed to protect homes against damage caused by cold temperatures,” explains the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, Inc. “These measures should be performed in the fall, before it gets cold enough for damage to occur. Indoor plumbing is probably the most critical area to consider when preparing a home for winter, although other systems should not be ignored.”
“Overall, 47% of households rely on natural gas as their main heating fuel, compared with 36% who rely on electricity,” according to the most recent Residential Energy Consumption Survey conducted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Research shows that “as many as 90 percent of U.S. homes are under-insulated, leading to drafts and unwanted heat exchange.”
AAA Insurance offers the following tips to prepare your home for winter:
Check your heating system: Before firing up your furnace, boiler or chimney, have your heating system(s) serviced to make sure they are working properly. It’s a good idea to have these checked at least once a year.
Consider installing a programmable thermostat to cut your energy bill and improve energy efficiency.
Inspect and insulate pipes: Carefully inspect pipes for cracks and leaks, and have them repaired as soon as possible. Insulate exposed pipes and seal cracks to prevent them from leaking or even bursting.
Know the location of the main water shutoff valve: If your pipes freeze, the faster you shut off the water, the better chance you have of preventing them from bursting and causing major damage.
Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: As the mercury drops and more of us light fires in the fireplace and use indoor heaters, residential fires and carbon monoxide poisoning increase, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly to make sure they are in working condition.
Clean out gutters: Remove leaves, sticks and other debris from gutters so rain and melting snow can flow freely. This will help prevent backed up gutters and water seeping into your house through ceilings and walls.
Trim trees and remove dead branches: Ice, snow, wind and rain can cause weak trees and tree limbs to fall and damage your car or home – or fall on people walking on or near your property.
Seal exterior cracks and holes: To keep your energy bill low and your home free of mold, caulk openings and install weather stripping around windows and doors to prevent cold air and moisture from entering.
Be Prepared—stock up on emergency items
Don’t forget insurance
For information about auto and home insurance, call your AAA insurance agent or insurance customer service, or visit your local branch. AAA Insurance offers additional tips for Preparing for Storms and Other Risks at https://midatlantic.aaa.com/insurance/be-prepared.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than 937,000 members in Maryland. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit AAA.com.
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