Don't Get Left in the Cold As Severe Weather Approaches This Winter

There's Still Time: TotalProtect Home Warranty shares 10 tips to winter-ready homes

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – (Jan. 6, 2014) – Waking up to a blanket of snow can be a beautiful sight but, as winter storms affect states throughout the country, not being prepared can put your home and your pocketbook at risk. It's not too late to keep your home safe and warm this winter season with these 10 tips from TotalProtect Home Warranty, a nationwide leader in home maintenance and protection plans.

"When a cold snap hits, the last thing homeowners need is the worry of a broken furnace or frozen pipes," said Sandra Finn, president of TotalProtect.  "In 2012, the National Weather Service reported $15.6 million dollars in property damage during extreme cold temperatures. That is 181 percent more than during the hot months. Peace of mind is a powerful thing and a little upfront preparation can mean the difference between a stress-free or stress-filled winter."

Tune Up the Furnace: Fire up the furnace to ensure it is working properly. Licensed heating contractors can perform a routine maintenance check-up and make any necessary repairs to reduce breakdowns during a cold spell.

Don't Get Burned: Keep anything flammable three feet from portable or stationary heaters, and make sure to turn off space heaters when going to sleep or leaving a room. Always plug a space heater directly into the outlet, not into an extension cord or power strip.

Keep Water Moving Through Your Pipes: Keeping the temperature inside a home at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit will help keep pipes from freezing; frozen pipes can cause cracks and severe water damage. Should a storm hit and there is power loss, homeowners should turn faucets on to a slight drip; this will keep water moving through the pipes and prevent them from freezing.

Check Safety Alarms: Test carbon monoxide and fire safety alarms and install fresh batteries

Add or Upgrade Insulation: Homeowners can keep the cold out by professionally insulating their home and caulking window cracks, as well as upgrading to storm windows, which help reduce heat loss up to 50 percent.

Prevent Ice Dams: Keeping an attic well ventilated is essential in preventing ice dams from forming on the roof. A warm attic will melt the snow on the roof, run down to the roof's edge and refreeze where it is much cooler. Ice that has built up and melted could force itself under the roof covering and down the walls, causing serious water damage.

Trim Those Trees: Pruning nearby trees will help prevent ice buildup, which can crack branches, clog gutters and damage the roof.

Tame the Fire: Chimneys and fireplaces should be professionally inspected each year and regularly cleaned. Before starting a fire, homeowners should ensure the flue is open and never use lighter fluid, gasoline or other flammable liquids to enhance a fire.

Prepare for a Snowstorm: Storm preparedness kits should have enough supplies to survive for three days after a major weather event. Kits should be stocked with necessities including a shovel, flashlight, batteries, non-perishable foods, bottled water, matches, a battery operated radio, first aid kit and a camping stove.

Have a Plan: Should a major storm hit, every family member should know emergency evacuation procedures and be able to easily maneuver through the house.

One can never be too prepared for extreme cold temperatures. That's why TotalProtect Home Warranty urges homeowners to take the necessary steps to guard their homes from the elements this winter season. From air conditioning and heating systems, to appliances, electrical and plumbing, TotalProtect provides homeowners with peace of mind all year long. Regardless of age, make or model, a TotalProtect Home Warranty will cover most household systems and appliances for repair or replacement in the event of an unexpected breakdown. To learn more, please visit or call 1-800-474-4047.

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