Logo Print
< Back

Winter Prep — Frozen Pipes, Fires, and Roof Collapse

Winter may be December through March, but strong winds, freezing temperatures, heavy snowfall, and torrential rains can hit well before and after the season. That’s why it’s never too early to prepare your home for winter weather. A few precautions can prevent or reduce the likelihood of damages and claims. Our Personal Risk Managers have suggested the following as best practices for winter storm preparation.

To Prevent Water Damage  

  • Home temperature should be monitored and maintained at 55⁰F or higher.
  • Wrap the outside pipes with the proper pipe insulation.
  • Open cabinets to allow warmth to reach pipes under sinks and inside cabinetry.
  • Windows, skylights, and doors should be in good condition and sealed tightly.
  • Consider installing an automatic leak detector and water valve shutoff system.
  • If the cold weather moves in before you have a chance to protect your pipes, a temporary solution is to leave your taps running just a trickle, since flowing water won't freeze as quickly as still water.
  • If you leave your home for an extended time during the cold season, it's best to drain all the water from your water pipes. Turn off the main water supply, and then open faucets to drain the water lines. Be sure to turn off your water heater as well.

To Prevent Home Fires 

  • Furnaces, heaters and flues should be serviced regularly, but especially prior to winter.
  • Move belongings at least 3 feet away from any heat sources.
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period, turn off the stove.
  • Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home. They are not designed for this purpose and can be a fire hazard. In addition, carbon monoxide (CO) gas might kill people and pets.
  • Check electrical cords often and replace cracked or damaged electrical or extension cords. Do not try to repair them.
  • Do not put your live Christmas tree up too early. Remember to take it down before it dries out. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times and place the tree at least 3 feet from any heating source.
  • Select the new “flameless” candles that operate by battery to bring the look and scent of real candles to your home. If you must use burning candles, place them in sturdy candleholders that won’t burn.

To Prevent Heavy Roof Loading & Collapse 

  • Inspect and clean roof gutters.
  • Maintain all roofs and keep current with repairs.
  • Arrange to have all roofs cleared of snow, especially where snow drifts are visible. Hire an experienced contractor for this dangerous task.
  • Have mature trees inspected and maintained.

Additional Tips 

  • Install backup generators for your critical systems of the home such as refrigerators, electronic home components and heat sources.
  • Take an inventory of your personal contents so you have a record of belongings prior to a loss.
  • Replace insulation as necessary.
  • Keep salt/sand for icy sidewalks and driveways.
The descriptions of coverages listed in this article are brief and subject to the provisions, limitations, and exclusions that can only be expressed in your policy and related endorsements. For additional information of how Swingle Collins & Associates can assist in meeting your coverage needs, please contact your dedicated risk manager. The information contained in this article is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It contains general information on insurance issues and may not reflect the most current developments in insurance coverage and is unlikely to apply in all factual scenarios. The information does not include all the terms, coverages, exclusions, limitations or conditions that may be contained in the actual insurance contract language. The policies themselves must be read for those details. Sample policy forms will be made available upon reasonable request. Thank you.

Trusted & Dedicated


There are two traits you’ll find in every Swingle Collins Risk Advisor—unsurpassed knowledge of insurance products, and a steadfast commitment to recommending the solutions that are best aligned with your business and personal goals.

Learn More
To Top