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Winterize Your Home

Bilz Insurance

With the cold weather of winter upon us, it's time to think about how to best protect your house from the dangers of snow, ice, sleet, and sub-zero temperatures.

Here are a few simple, inexpensive ways to prevent any damage this winter:

  • Have your furnance inspected by a licensed technician. The malfunction of heating devices, most notably space heaters, is the second-leading cause of fire death in the country.
  • Inspect your plumbing system to help prevent pipes from bursting. Any pipes exposed to extremely cold temperatures should be wrapped with heat tape. Additionally, locating the shutoff valve prior to any incident is crucial to minimizing water damage.
  • Replace any cracked or missing roof shingles and verify that any flashing around the chimney or vent pipes is airtight. To avoid injury of damage to your propery, hire a licensed contractor if extensive work is needed.

The winter season also brings with it the increased risk of fire within a home, stemming mainly from what Trusted Choice insurance agents deem the "Four C's": chimneys, candles, Christmas trees, and children.

Each of these potential firestarters can be kept under control with simple and time-tested methods of prevention, detailed in the following section.


Chimneys add loads of character to any house, but the risk of fire damage is ever-present. The best way to prevent a chimney fire is to ensure that the fireplace is in proper working order. Some other tips include:

  • Have the chimney inspected by a professional for creosote buildup.
  • Use kindling to start the fire, and make sure to burn dry wood in order to prevent creosote buildup.
  • Don't burn wrapping paper, boxes, or Christmas trees.


Fragrant candles can lighten a room and create a wonderful holiday atmosphere, but important steps need to be taken to prevent any accidental fire damage. Most fires started by candles occur because an item close by ignites, including bedding, furniture and curtains.

The best ways to prevent candle fires are also the simplest: double check to make sure all candles are extinguished before going to bed at night and keep all flammable objects at a safe distance.

Christmas Trees

Whether natural or artificial, Christmas trees pose a significant fire risk, with over 300 home fires being attributed to trees each year. The most common instigators of tree fires are electrical problems, heat sources placed too close to the tree, and the fourth "c", children.

There are lots of ways to lessen the risk of a tree igniting, some of which include:

  • Buy a cut tree with fresh, green needles. If you are buying an artificial tree, make sure it is fire resistant.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from major heat sources like radiators and fireplaces.
  • Water live-cut trees everyday to prevent dried needles.
  • Unplug lights on the tree each night before going to bed.
  • Dispose of live-cut trees once the needles begin to dry and fall off.

Child Safety

Christmas is a magical time for small children and often, their natural curiosity can be a hazard to your home and belongings. It's important to consider children when positioning your decorations, while following these simple guidelines:

  • Consider the placement of your power cords and make sure your children are kept away at all times.
  • Keep lighters, matches, and lit candles out of the reach of children.
  • Continually ask yourself what might draw the attention of a child and ensure that dangerous items are kept out of reach.



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