Is Your Home Ready for Winter?

Is Your Home Ready for Winter?

We’re still feeling the heat of summer on the East Coast but harsh winter weather isn’t far away. Autumn is the best time of year to fully inspect your home to make sure that it’s ready for inclement weather and that you are protected against liability due to injuries that might occur on your property.

The following liability checklist will help you review key areas of your home. Take precautions as you move around your home and hire professionals to assist you when necessary.

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  • Roof: Inspect and repair; seal around vents and other protrusions to prevent roof leaks.
  • Gutters and downspouts: Remove all obstructions and make sure all gutters are properly secured to your home.
  • Exterior water lines: Drain and winterize to prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Drains: Clear debris and adjust grading so water drains away from your property.
  • Basements: Are you prepared for water backups? Have an emergency number handy.
  • Trees: Inspect trees near structures and walk areas and cut unsafe branches.


  • Furnaces: Inspect, tune-up, check filters, check venting and assure property clearances to combustibles. Check with your HVAC company, many have annual contracts to help you maintain your system safely.
  • Space heaters: Prohibit or minimize use and check user’s manual to assure safe operation.
  • Wood-burning stoves and chimneys: Inspected for safe use and have professionally cleaned.
  • Interior pipes: Protect from freezing. Be very careful if attempting to thaw a frozen pipe. Do NOT thaw frozen pipes with open flames or torches.
  • Faucets: Leave dripping during intense cold.
  • Alarms: Test all fire, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Change all batteries when the clocks fall back on Sunday, November 6th.

Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention

  • Be prepared for ice with salt, ice melt and shovels. If you have a snow blower, is it ready for use?
  • Check exterior lights, especially those illuminating walkways around your home.
  • Keep all sideways around your home clear of snow and ice.
  • Eliminate water drainage from downspouts and roofs across high traffic walking areas; it can cause dangerous ice to accumulate.

Emergency Preparations

  • Create a weather emergency plan.
  • Assemble flashlights, batteries, emergency weather radio and an emergency contact list.
  • Create a plan for loss of power, including considerations for maintaining heat and preventing frozen pipes.
  • Is your generator ready for use? Remember to operate generators only outdoors and to store fuel in safe manner.
  • Use caution when burning candles. Many fires are caused by use of candles.

f you have property liability questions or if someone has been hurt on your property, contact our attorneys toll free at 866-732-6700. We’re here to help.

Protection tips excerpted from Cincinnati Insurance Company (www.cinfin.com)

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