Fall is here and you should use the time to enjoy the cool weather outdoors and take care of housekeeping chores before winter arrives.
You should also tackle any needed maintenance before the weather gets too cold and, if you live in a cold-weather area, you could use the time to improve the energy efficiency of your home as well. You should also take proactive measures to prevent damage from any winter storms that may pass through.
To help you along the way, we’ve created a handy checklist for you to follow:
Chore 1: Check your Medicare Coverage
If you are enrolled in medicare, recent changes have indicated that you may be entitled to lower drug prices for certain Medicare part D and Medicare Advantage enrollees. So what does this mean, and how do we know what Medicare covers now?
Medicare is largely changing the way that they compensate private insurers. This is meant to increase competition and create incentives for companies to lower the cost of their drug prices.
With all of these changes, it may be time to revisit your coverage and make sure that you have all the necessary features that you need.
This new plan is releasing new “value-based” benefits to all fifty states; this could include lower copays, better plan design for certain beneficiaries, assistance with transportation costs, and incentives for preventative care.
Medicare may also cover new systems of healthcare that it didn’t previously cover. This could include telemedicine and hospice benefits.
Don’t delay your registration; Medicare is open for enrollment in November and December. To learn more about what Medicare covers, and to look at all of the options we offer, contact Premier Insurance Services today.
Chore 2: Clean gutters and downspouts
It’s important that you clear out your gutters of any debris or items that can impede water flow during rains. Clogged gutters during rainstorms can cause water to pool and damage your roof or siding. Gutters filled with debris are also an attractive home for rodents and other pests.
Once most of the leaves have fallen from your trees, you should get up on a ladder and clean out your gutters and downspouts. Make certain you’ve placed the ladder on a sturdy, level surface before you attempt to climb it. If you’re afraid you may fall, ask a more capable family member or hire someone to do it for you. Once you’ve finished scooping out the larger bits with a shovel, you should clear any remaining debris by flushing out the gutters completely using a garden hose.
Chore 3: Make exterior repairs
Before winter arrives, you should walk around your property and look for any signs of damage to the roof, siding and foundation of your home. If you see any issues, like missing shingles or dry rot in your siding, repair it before winter weather can exacerbate the problem.
Additionally, if you see any gaps or holes, seal them as soon as possible to keep mice or other pests from entering your home. Fill small holes and cover any larger gaps securely with heavy-duty hardware cloth to keep the wildlife outdoors.
Chore 4: Shut off exterior faucets and store hoses
If you live in an area with cold winter weather, you may want to take steps to protect your pipes from freezing temperatures by shutting off water to exterior faucets before the weather dips below freezing.
Drain hoses and store them indoors as well, as you will likely not need to run them in the winter. It is important to know where the shutoff valves are for plumbing features. If pipes do freeze, you should turn off the water as quickly as possible to prevent a burst.
Chore 5: Check weatherstripping
Weatherstripping around the frames of windows and doors can keep the warm air in on cold days and reduce your home heating costs. Add door sweeps to the base of drafty doors to keep heat in and cold air out of the home.
Inspect the weatherstripping around your doors and windows. If it is cracking, brittle, torn, frayed or hanging loose, you should remove it and replace it.
Chore 6: Clean your chimney
If you have a chimney, you should schedule a time to have it inspected and cleaned before you start burning wood in your fireplace during the winter. It takes only a small accumulation of creosote glazing to create the potential for a chimney fire. Creosote is a highly flammable substance that builds up inside a chimney or liner as a result of burning wood.
Other venting systems connected to furnaces and stoves should also be cleaned on a regular basis to maintain safe operations. While you’re at it, be sure to replace or clean filters in your vents, or ask a family member to help you out. Ensure any heating units are professionally serviced and inspected.
Chore 7: Inspect walkways
The sidewalk in front of the home should be inspected, and any cracks should be promptly repaired. To minimize the risk of falls, handrails on outdoor stairs should be checked and repaired if necessary. It is especially important to do this if people come to the house often, because falls are a common source of liability claims against homeowners.