People’s Trust Insurance knows that Florida may not truly experience winter, at least by hearty Midwestern standards, but temperatures do fall in the Sunshine State when the calendar flips over to January. Because Florida homes are better prepared to deal with heat than cold, the Florida home insurance company is offering convenient tips for Florida homeowners to protect their homes as the state deals with its chilliest months.
Florida’s average January temperature is 58 degrees, with average highs in the 70s through much of South and Central Florida. But Miami hit an all-time low of 36 degrees in January 2010, and the thermometer regularly plunges far lower in the northern parts of the state – the capital city once hit -2, and the average January low is just 39 degrees.
“Floridians need to prepare for chilly weather in January and February, because most of our homes simply aren’t prepared for the lowest temperatures we see,” said George Schaeffer, the company’s Chief Executive Officer. “Maybe we don’t need to stock up on rock salt and snow shovels, but there are steps we should all take to make sure our homes make it through winter in good shape.”
People’s Trust Insurance offers the following tips to help plan a winter home maintenance checklist and keep your house secure as temperatures begin to drop, inside and out:
- Inspect and Insulate Doors and Windows – As much as 7 percent to 12 percent of a home’s heating loss occurs around windows and doors. Before winter arrives, inspect your home’s openings to ensure that they are properly sealed, and replace worn weather stripping to prevent warm air from escaping.
- Prepare Pipes for Freezing Weather – Frozen pipes are the second leading cause of home insurance claims in the United States., according to the Insurance Information Institute. If you live in those parts of Florida that experience colder weather, consider insulating exposed pipes to keep them from freezing and bursting. The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)® recommends three steps to prevent frozen pipes. Foam: insulate outdoor pipes that are exposed to cold drafts; Dome: install an insulating dome or cover on outdoor faucets and spigots to help prevent water inside the pipes from freezing or expanding; Drip: on those infrequent cold days, let your faucets drip to reduce the buildup of water pressure inside the pipe.
- Clear Dead Leaves and Brush – Following the recent active storm season, chances are yards and gutters are due for a cleaning. Clear dead leaves or brush that have accumulated around the yard, in gutters, and on the roof.
- Prepare Your Backyard Pool – While Floridians don’t exactly need to “winterize” their backyard pools, there are important steps to take to keep a pool healthy during the offseason. For example, homeowners should vacuum the bottom, empty filters, and remove any surface debris – and also take adequate precautions against algae, which can still bloom during winter months.
- Reverse Ceiling Fans – Homeowners can save up to 15 percent on annual heating costs by reversing ceiling fans to push warm air down during colder months. Setting fans to spin clockwise at a low speed will circulate warm air near the ceiling, reducing the need to use the home’s heating system.
- Replace Air Filters – A dirty HVAC filter can cause a heating and cooling system to run inefficiently and drive up utility expenses. To prevent the buildup of dirt and dust, and to save money, homeowners should inspect air filters once a month and replace them every three months, if not more frequently. Changing HVAC filters will help improve air quality inside the home.
- Inspect the Attic – Attics should be closely inspected for signs of water damage, infestation or insulation problems that could cause serious damage to the home if left unfixed. It’s important to catch any potential issues early to prevent them from becoming a widespread problem.
By following this winter home maintenance checklist, Florida homeowners will be ready for whatever winter throws at the Sunshine State.
About People’s Trust Insurance
Founded in 2008, People’s Trust Insurance has emerged as one of Florida’s top 10 home insurance companies, providing homeowners with affordable Florida homeowner’s insurance rates and benefits not available anywhere else. Honored with the 2013 Enterprise Florida Governor’s Innovators in Business Award, People’s Trust provides a “Better Way” for nearly 150,000 Floridians to insure their homes. With more than 600 employees in its family of companies and an affiliation with Florida’s largest residential insurance restoration general contractor, People’s Trust is Florida’s best-prepared home insurance company and a full partner in policyholders’ recovery after loss.