- A great first step is to check your home owner's policy to see what is covered and what your current deductible is.
- Keep your attic cool to prevent ice dams.
- Be sure that the floor of your attic is very well insulated and ventilated.
- Keep your sidewalks and other walkways clear of ice and snow.
- Keep an eye out for ice dams near your gutter downspouts. Your gutters should be free of any leaves and debris to allow the melted ice to flow freely.
- Be sure to keep your home temperature no lower than 65 degrees. Anything lower than this and you aren't preventing your inside of your walls from freezing.
- Know where the main water shut off is in your home in case you need to use it.
- In case of severe cold, allow your faucets in your home to drip slowly. This keeps the water in the pipes moving and prevents frozen pipes.
- If you own a swimming pool, run the pool pump at night to allow the water to move around for the same reason as mentioned above.
- All outside hoses should be disconnected form spigots.
- If your garage is connected to your house, keep your garage door closed because the door to the house is probably not insulated very well.
- It's important to keep an eye on dead or damaged limbs on trees in case ice begins to form on them and then cause them to break.
- If you use a fireplace, wood stove, or heater, watch them carefully and make sure they are working properly.
- Remember to close the flue in the fireplace when it's not in use. Plus, remember to reopen it when you decide to use it.
- If you leave on a trip, ask your neighbor or a family member to check on your home regularly to watch for frozen pipes and other dangers.
- If you are going to be leaving for an extended period of time, have a professional drain your water system to prevent frozen pipes and any other damage.
In Case of a Winter Storm:
- If you don't have to drive, stay where you are. No sense in putting yourself and others at risk.
- If you must drive, make sure you've winterized your car and have a full tank of gas.
- When the air's cold, keep bathroom and kitchen cabinets open to allow warm air to circulate to keep pipes warm.
- If pipes do freeze, let them thaw normally. They'll be less likely to burst.
- If the powers out, make sure you don't leave candles or fires unattended.
- If you use a portable generator, follow the directions and don't have it indoors.
For more information on frozen pipes, check out this great guide from Safeco - Freezing and Bursting Pipes.
Check out their 101 page for more tips!