Winterizing Your Home and Car

Handy tips for any climate.

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Even in a desert climate, winter temperatures can sometimes drop below freezing. If you aren’t prepared, an unexpected cold snap can play havoc with your plumbing and vehicles, and could be disastrous if you’re out of town when icy weather blows in. Additionally, many desert dwellers own vacation homes in the “high country” or areas that experience a full-blown winter with hard freezes, storms, snow and ice. Regardless of where you live, it’s important to make sure your home and vehicles are ready for winter storms and cold temperatures. Here are a few tips to help you get started.


How to prepare your home

  • Prevent ice dams. Keep drains and gutters free of debris that might restrict water flow and drainage, insulate light fixtures in the ceiling below any unheated attic space, and consider installing a rooftop snow-melt system to keep ice off the roof and gutters.
  • Protect your pipes. Winterize exterior plumbing and properly insulate interior plumbing lines.
  • Set your home temperature to at least 65 degrees. While you want to save money on heat, especially if you’re away, you also need to make sure your pipes don’t freeze and expand, causing connecting faucets and pipes to freeze and break.
  • Keep systems running when the power goes out. To keep your home’s vital systems powered and running when the power goes off, consider a standby or permanently installed generator and a battery backup. Due to carbon monoxide dangers, never use a generator indoors or inside an attached garage.

Consider using a digital home maintenance app to help you keep up with monthly and annual tasks, projects, remodels, and more. Some homeowners insurance companies have ones they specifically recommend. Check with your General Southwest advisor for more info. You can also visit our blog library for additional information and tips for avoiding fire, flooding and other home disasters.


How to prepare your vehicle

  • Keep fuel and fluids topped off. Make sure your vehicles are ready to go if you need them by keeping the gas and windshield wiper tanks full.
  • Prepare an emergency roadside safety kit. If your vehicle breaks down or a severe winter storm hits while you’re on the road, you’ll need the right supplies to stay safe and warm. Click here for tips on putting together emergency supply kits for a variety of situations.
  • Practice winter driving. Familiarize yourself with your vehicle’s winter weather driving features, such as ABS brakes and traction control. Also, make sure your tires are appropriate for winter weather and remember to keep them properly inflated.

Click here for more tips on safe driving.


What to do before, during, and after a winter storm:

  • Before: Monitor NOAA Weather radio or local television and radio stations for updates about the storm.
  • During: Stay indoors; place check-in calls or texts to anyone who might need a helping hand (such as an elderly neighbor or loved one).
  • After: If you lost power and won’t have heat for more than a few hours, consider staying temporarily with a nearby friend or family member. If you need to drive, try to avoid any unplowed roads and watch out for black ice.

Learn more about what you can do to prepare for disasters of all types.


For additional tips on staying safe in any kind of weather, visit the GSW Blog Library or contact your insurance advisor at General Southwest, 480-990-1900.

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