How to Prepare Your Home for a Pacific Northwest Winter 

Homeowners Insurance
December 18, 2023
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What’s the secret to keeping your home safe and comfortable over a Pacific Northwest winter? By preparing your home before the first harsh days, you can help prevent damage from the Pacific Northwest winter. In addition to reviewing your homeowners insurance policy (more on that later), we recommend that you take these five simple actions to get your home ready. 

First, let’s see what you’re likely to be up against this year. 

What Kind of Winter Is Predicted for the Pacific Northwest in 2023-24? 

According to forecasters, we will have an El Nino winter in the U.S. This means Pacific Northwest residents will experience a milder and drier winter than usual. 

Good news, right? But don’t let your guard down. It’s still a Pacific Northwest winter on the way, and that means lower temperatures and the possibility of snow, rain, or a dreary mix of both when you (and your home) least expect it. So, take action now. Here’s how: 

How to Prepare Your Home for Winter 

There’s plenty you can do to maximize your comfort and safety in the harshest season without spending a lot of money. We suggest taking the following simple actions to winterize and protect your home and maintain your family’s high comfort levels. 

Turn off Exterior Water Sources 

Over a typical winter, the Seattle area gets some 25 nights that are at or below-freezing temperatures. If the upcoming winter is indeed milder than average, we might experience fewer such days and nights in the Pacific Northwest, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see freezing temps this season. 

If you have exterior water spigots or underground sprinkler systems, you’ll want to save yourself from some costly surprises. Remember to turn off all of your exterior water sources and save yourself from the threat of burst water pipes

And speaking of burst pipes… 

Make an Appointment with a Furnace Specialist 

Do it now because the worst time to make that call is in the middle of the coldest night of the season—and that seems to be when ailing furnaces choose to check out. Unless your furnace is brand new or you have a knack for professionally inspecting your furnace, let the experts do it. 

If you place the call before the season starts to throw its worst at you, it will be easier to schedule an appointment. If you’re to receive any bad news on the condition of your heating system, you want to hear it on a day when you’re wearing shorts rather than when the whole family is shivering in coats, scarves, and pajamas. 

Conduct a Draft Check 

You’ll need a chilly and drafty day for this test. Stand in front of windows and doorways and see what you feel. If you’re feeling air currents when outdoor temperatures are in the fifties, you know you and your family will feel much less comfortable in that part of the house when temperatures drop below freezing. 

When you find trouble spots, replace storm windows, pick up a caulking gun, or install weather stripping. Another solution is to apply plastic film weather stripping over entire windows to keep winter out. 

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Test Alarms 

Make it an annual tradition to change batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms before winter sets in. After all, your home is more sealed up in the winter than during the rest of the year. The seasonal use of fireplaces and wood-burning stoves can add to the risk of carbon monoxide build-up. 

The season’s use of fireplaces, candles, holiday trees, and lighting can also add to the fire risk, so test those smoke alarms and make sure they’re in working condition. 

Trim Tree Limbs 

Snow and ice accumulation can weigh down tree limbs. If they overhang your roof, a limb snapping off under the weight can cause plenty of damage. 

In addition, limbs drooping over rooflines provide convenient bridges for squirrels, raccoons, and other unwanted critters looking to gnaw their way into your warm home for the winter. Don’t give ’em an easy way in. Trim those limbs! 

Review Your Homeowners Insurance Policy While You’re Thinking About It 

A higher deductible keeps your premiums low, but if it’s unreasonably high you might pay plenty out of pocket this winter before your coverage kicks in. It’s a delicate balance, but your homeowners insurance agent can help you review your policy and establish a deductible level that’s right for your budget

Your agent can also help you understand what your policy entails and adjust your coverage if necessary. For instance, to what degree does your current homeowners insurance policy cover snow damage? Your agent can explain. 

Find Affordable Home Insurance in Washington Before Winters Sets In 

Our homeowners insurance agents are eager to help you better understand your policy or shop for more affordable coverage that will give you a winter-ready home. We can help you feel safe and secure at home this and every winter. 

Just call Vern Fonk Insurance at (800) 455-8276. You can also meet with a Vern Fonk agent at a Washington office location near you or get a quick quote online