6 Ways to Winterize Your Northern California Home
Those who don’t own a home in California or only visit during the summer months often think seashores, beaches, and suntan lotion are all part of the scene everywhere here. While that might be a fairly accurate picture of Southern Cal at its best, it’s only half the story. Winters in northern California are … different.
And that is why, if you’re a homeowner in this more rugged part of the state, you have to think about winterproofing your home before the cold weather sets in and does damage that may cause a home insurance claim.
It Isn’t Minnesota, but You Still Need to Winterize Your Northern California Home
In many parts of the nation, it’s the horror of a broken furnace and burst water pipes that keep homeowners awake at night. While residents of the northern chunk of California don’t expect their winters to be all that traumatizing, the temperatures do drop.
Average winter Fahrenheit readings in the north are usually between lows in the thirties and highs in the fifties, but in some pockets of land here, particularly in and around the mountains, the temps can drop to well below freezing. While cold rain is more common, snow is hardly unheard of in Northern California.
The point is homeowners need to be prepared for the harshest three months of winter — December through February. Here are six tips for effectively winterizing your home this year and tempering harsh weather strikes.
1. Check and Maintain Your Furnace
Furnaces need to be inspected annually to keep them safe as well as to keep them performing optimally. While your water pipes probably won’t burst if your furnace dies on you, it could get pretty cold and uncomfortable for your family in the middle of the night if it goes on the fritz.
Ask for references if you don’t know any furnace service technicians. When you find one who’s punctual, thorough, courteous, and trustworthy, keep the business card handy or plug the number into your phone. Also, make sure the technician offers 24-hour service since off-hours seem to be when trouble arises most often.
2. Clean the Gutters Before the California Winter
This is simply something that needs to be done at least once a year, regardless of the harshness of your winters. If you have leafy trees overhead, the fallen leaves from autumn are likely to fill your gutters unless you have a gutter guard system.
Water finds a way. Whether it’s rainwater or melting snow or ice, it’s likely to leak into your walls if your gutters are clogged. That can mean mold or broken plaster is in your near future unless you have clear channels for all that running winter water.
3. Trim the Tree Branches Away From Roofs
If you (or a service technician) are at roof level anyway, why not also trim the tree branches up there?
Squirrels and other unwanted guests can use those branches to get to your roof. From there, the goal during colder months is to get warm. Can you blame them? If they can gnaw through shingles to get to your warmer attic or find a way down your chimney, or other access, they will. That’s why it’s better not to give nature’s visitors a foothold from the tree-limb level.
4. Reverse Ceiling Fan Blades
This flick of your wrist action is quick, easy, and surprisingly among the most energy-efficient and powerful winterization moves you can make. Your ceiling fans, after all, don’t just cool rooms.
Remember, heat rises. That includes the heat puffing out of your well-maintained furnace. When you set your fan blades clockwise at low speeds, it helps push that comforting warmed air down into your living spaces. Depending on how many ceiling fans you have, you might be able to save as much as 15 percent of your energy costs just by making this simple move that will take you seconds.
5. Unclog Those Air Ducts
Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it can’t hurt you and your family. Clogged air ducts make your furnace work harder to do just a semi-effective job of heating your living spaces.
Call in the specialists to clean your air ducts. It could cost you several hundred dollars, but the phone call might save you as much as 40 percent on your heating bills while also extending the life of your costly furnace. In other words, it can be well worth the expenditure if it saves you money in the future.
6. Review Your California Home Insurance Policy
This is another task that should be done regularly, even if the action isn’t strongly influenced by the effect of Northern California winters on your home. After all, it’s pretty unlikely that you know by heart all the conditions of your policy.
Does it fully cover new electronic devices or other pricey items you’ve recently purchased? Is it offering protection against all the environmental threats your home might face?
For that matter, is it the affordable coverage you and your family need? That’s a question that your independent homeowners insurance agent can help you answer.
Independent agents don’t work for a single insurance carrier. They have, instead, contracted with several major carriers. As a result, they can offer you the best policies to cover all your needs at the lowest possible premium.
Your independent agent will review your policy and discuss its strengths and weaknesses — then help you go shopping for a better deal if you’re not getting the full financial protection you want.
Find Affordable Home Insurance in California Today
Make Cost-U-Less Insurance your trusted source for affordable home insurance this winter and beyond. Just call us at (800) 390-4071 or stop in at the Northern California location near you. We can even help you get a quick quote online.