OKLAHOMA – Winter in Oklahoma can bring snow, sleet and ice throughout various times of the season, and ensuring your home is prepared for this weather can help in avoiding hazardous and costly damage. Quickly dropping temperatures can result in frozen pipes, clogged drains, roof damage and hefty electric bills. Luckily, the Oklahoma Association of REALTORS is providing tips on keeping your home safe this winter.

“Enjoying the holidays can be cut short if pipes freeze or the power goes out due to a snow storm,” said Pete Galbraith, OAR president. “Oklahoma weather can often be very unpredictable, and we want these tips to help homeowners protect their homes and have a stress-free holiday.”

Whether a home was built this year or in the 20s, taking the necessary precautions to protect it from winter damage is essential in avoiding expensive insurance repairs. Below are a few tips to keep Oklahoma homes safe and secure:

Protect the outside. Clogged gutters or drains are more susceptible to freeze, allowing for blockages that can seep ice and snow into your roof, damaging the roof or foundation. While cleaning the gutters, take the time to evaluate the roof and attic for proper insulation and ventilation. Checking on any trees that need to be trimmed can also prevent branches from falling on the home in the event of an ice storm.

Stay warm on the inside. When coming home from a long day, entering a warm house is a wonderful feeling. Prior to setting the first fire in that new fireplace, make sure it is inspected and cleaned. Other ways to keep the inside of the home warm is to invest in weather stripping around doors, vents, electrical and gas lines and windows. Not only does weather stripping seal in the heat, it can also save on energy costs.

Watch the pipes. While the electric bill can rise quickly during the winter months, ensuring the home is still warm enough to protect the pipes is essential to avoiding any sudden leaks. Keeping the house at a reasonably warm temperature, even while gone, and shutting off all garden houses or outside faucets can keep the pipes happy. When the temperatures drop dramatically, be sure to trickle water from faucets connected to unheated pipes.

Leave in peace. Space heaters are a great way to warm up quickly with the colder temperatures. However, when leaving the home, check to ensure all space heaters are turned off, candles are blown out and smoke detectors are working properly. These items can quickly cause a fire and should be checked before exiting the home.

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