While last winter lacked significant snowfall in Virginia, this year is shaping up to look different. El Niño returns for the first time in four years meaning Virginia could be in for a cold, snowy winter.
The 2023-24 Farmers’ Almanac forecasts a chilly, wet season for Virginia and the mid-Atlantic.
Homeowners should take steps now to prepare for the cold season ahead, according to Farm Bureau.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” said Laurie Gannon, vice president of claims for Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. “Ensuring your home systems are working properly and efficiently helps protect your largest investment from loss or damage.”
Creating a plan for winter weather
The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety encourages people to assess their homes’ winter exposure, and create a plan for before and after a winter storm.
- Some older homes may be more susceptible to freezing temperatures. It’s important to insulate pipes near exterior walls and in hard-to-reach places like attics and crawl spaces.
- IIBSH also suggests scheduling preventive maintenance for home heating systems and to keep homes cozy by caulking and sealing the exterior around windows and doors and adding weatherstripping as needed.
- Ensure chimneys, fireplaces and woodstoves are cleaned each year and in good working order to prevent fires and keep carbon monoxide from building up indoors.
- Outside the home, check your roof and replace loose, damaged or missing shingles. Fix any gaps or broken seals around vents, chimneys and roof corners. Roof leaks and ice dams can be avoided by clearing debris from gutters and drains.
- Trim tree branches near or overhanging your house, as they can damage the roof, siding and windows. Shut down sprinkler systems, and drain outdoor faucets, irrigation systems and hoses.
- Take an inventory of your home, and know what’s covered.
- Monitor weather alerts, and plan accordingly.
- Having an alternate heating source like a generator is recommended in case of a power outage.
- Keep an emergency kit with water, nonperishable food and other supplies.
For more tips on winter preparation, visit bit.ly/3SpDqCT.