Winter is Coming: How to Winter-Proof Your Home

by Sara Seeger 4. December 2014

Snowflakes

Many winter-related disasters can be prevented if you take a few simple steps to prepare and protect your home from winter’s less than favorable conditions: freezing temperatures, snow, and wind. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute more than 10% of all catastrophic losses are a result of winter storms. Although the weather has really gotten cold recently, the weather is overall still mild, and perfect for winter-proofing your home.

For the Outside

  • The Gutters - Remove sticks, leaves, and any other debris that could clog your gutters, so that melting snow and ice can drain properly. If water can’t drain freely ice damming can occur, which is where water is unable to drain through the gutters and seeps into the house instead.
  • The Trees - If you have trees on your property, especially near your house, be sure to trim any fragile, low hanging, or dead branches. As ice and snow build up on weak tree branches, they become heavy and can break, which could result in damage to your home or car, as well as injuring someone walking on the property.
  • The Steps - It’s difficult (and dangerous) enough to walk on broken steps or without a handrail. If you add in ice and snow, the result could be catastrophic. Repairing steps and handrails to your front or back porch may prevent someone from falling and being injured.
  • The Foundation - Before it gets too cold, seal any cracks in your home’s outsides walls and foundation. Use caulking to protect outdoor water pipes and if you have a skylight or any roof openings, be sure they have proper weather stripping to prevent melting snow or ice to seep in your house.

For the Inside

  • The House - I know you won’t want to see the heating bill, but turn (and keep) your heat on. It is recommended that you set the thermostat for at least 65 degrees. This will prevent the pipes in your walls from freezing.
  • The Heating System - Have your heating system serviced. It is recommended that furnaces, boilers, and chimneys be serviced once a year to help prevent fire and smoke damage.
  • The Pipes - Check for cracks or leaks in your pipes and if anything is wrong, have it repaired immediately. It’s important to wrap any exposed pipes with heating tape. While you’re checking your pipes for cracks, learn how to shut off the main water valve (if you don’t already). Time is of the essence when your pipes freeze.
  • The Alarms - Residential fires increase in the winter, so make sure that smoke alarms, fire alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.

By protecting your home from the harsh conditions of winter, you are helping to prevent damage that could happen due to ice, hail, or snow and may also be extending the life of your home by completing annual repairs and checks.

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

10 Affordable Ways to Survive the Polar Vortex

Spring Forward with These 5 Energy Saving Tips

The Best Things to Buy in the Winter

Thanksgiving by the Numbers

by Sara Seeger 25. November 2014

Thanksgiving is a day where many American spend time with family for a day of food, football, and more food. You may know the basic history of Thanksgiving - that the holiday stems from the feast held by the Pilgrims in 1621 to celebrate the colony’s first successful harvest. However, you may not know how big the world’s largest pumpkin pie was, or on average how far people travel to spend time with their family on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving by the Numbers

How to Get the Most out of Black Friday Shopping

by Sara Seeger 24. November 2014

Black Friday

Black Friday has been known as the official “kick-off” for the holiday shopping season. It is a good time to shop for gifts for people for the holidays, or to get a great deal on that big ticket item you’ve been wanting all year. Even though retailers have begun airing holiday deals earlier and earlier each year (this year they started in September!), consumers can still receive plenty of savings on items they want during Black Friday.

If you are someone who is planning to venture out into the crowds during Black Friday, follow our tips to get the most out of your Black Friday shopping experience.

Spend Some Time Researching

It is important to check consumer reports and read customer reviews of items before you purchase. The product may have a low price tag, but if the product has poor customer reviews, it may not be such a good deal. Be sure to research different brands and models for a quality product before standing in line.

Browse the Deals Ahead of Time

It's a good idea to browse deals before you head off to shop. Many deals are advertised on TV and also online to give consumers an idea of what items will be on sale and where to find those items. Browsing the deals ahead of time will help determine where you should go, assist with budgeting, and aid in allowing you to see who you have to shop for.

Tip: Create a plan of action before you head off to shop on Black Friday. As you are browsing for deals, it is a good idea to create a list of people to shop for. Next to each name, write the product you want to purchase for them, the price of that product, the store/location where you can find the product, and also include any special hours for the sale.

Compare Prices

After you investigate which retailers sell the items you wish to purchase, compare their prices to ensure you are getting the best deal. Many stores will offer the same product, but it is prudent to examine what each store is offering. Some stores will offer “add-ons” when certain products are purchased, such as extra accessories or a store gift card. “Bundle” packages are also a favorite offering on Black Friday. Take the time to see what is included with each product to determine if the deal is really worth it or not.

Are You an Early Bird?

Many stores will advertise early bird specials and door busters, usually before 10 a.m., to help draw in the crowd that likes getting up early. Many early bird specials will begin at 4 a.m. and there is a limited quantity, so if you are interested in an early bird special, ensure you get to the store early. Many times, once these deals are gone, they’re really gone.

Don’t Forget Cyber Monday

If you aren’t into getting up early, limited parking, and crowds, don’t worry! You can enjoy deals right in the comfort of your own home. Some retailers offer deals on Black Friday online, but the majority of stores partake in “Cyber Monday” which is the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Whether you are preparing to hit the stores on Black Friday, or are more comfortable shopping online, there are bound to be many great deals this holiday season. Happy shopping!

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

Tech the Halls with These 5 Holiday Money Savings Apps

How to Master Holiday Entertaining on a Budget

The Best Things to Buy in the Winter



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