by Aryn Bates, CAPI, CPRIA

Holiday Greetings, Homeowners! 

As we head into the holiday season – and anxiously await the ball to ring in the Hope of 2021 – I wanted to first take a moment to share appreciation: Thank you to our clients, such as yourself, who have become friends of Overmyer Hall Associates, especially through such a challenging year. You are the reason I look forward to opening up my laptop every morning (remotely). I aspire to keep learning and understanding our complex world so that I can share more knowledge with you. 

This has been a year of change for all of us. For me, my home world has changed dramatically. I went from being a single dog-mom of one to owning a new home, with two dogs, two kids, one boyfriend, and a whole lot of laundry! (Tips on organizing, making kid-friendly meals, and how to correctly upload schoolwork into the virtual world are all welcome!)

In my true Insurance-Nerd fashion, I have discovered a lot of fun quirks with my 1900-built house, and have done some research on ways to keep it safe, especially now with dropping temperatures. I’m excited to share with you some easy ways to winterize your home. I think it’s important to note I do not receive kickbacks from the products mentioned below! 

Here are a few tips on how to winterize your home, keep it frost-free, and prevent making avoidable insurance claims. 

Winterize Tip # 1 – Keep Your House Cozy

  • At first, I was skeptical of the Nest thermostat. My initial experience with one was a constant battle of AC settings at my boyfriend’s house all summer long; every time I touched the dial, I would somehow “mess-up” his programming. However, the Nest has a built-in Emergency Temperature setting, so in case you forget to program it or turn it off, it will not let the house drop below a certain temperature. 
  • Why? Great news for non-freezing pipes! Keeping your house set to a minimum temperature helps prevent pipes from freezing, then bursting, and creating an unfortunate situation you definitely could have avoided. 

Winterize Tip # 2 – Keep Water Out

  • Clean your gutters before it snows. I can picture my dad, Jeff, putting on his wellies, bulky thermal waterproof gloves, grabbing a bucket, and trudging outside with his massive ladder to quadruple check the gutters on our house. Now that my parents have downsized into a condo, I receive reminder calls to winterize my gutters with the same “DO YOUR HOMEWORK!” tone I heard in high school. So, listen to Jeff and clean your gutters!
  • Why? When the snow in your gutters melts all at once, it can seep in through the sides of the house, through different areas of the roof, or down into the basement. Cleaning your gutters before it snows will allow water to drain away from your home and not freeze inside cluttered gutters. 

Winterize Tip #3 – Take Care of Landscaping

  • This may seem like an odd one, but it’s important. Landscaping includes those concrete steps and pavers around your home, too. I have six concrete steps connecting the street to my front door and continuously clear the steps of leaves and debris. Why? Clearing your steps will protect our Amazon (or deliverers from dangerous falls.
  • Trim back dead or overhanging tree branches. Why? We have all seen the massive limbs that come down during ice storms, and no one needs a National Lampoon situation this holiday. 
  • Winterize your exterior taps by disconnecting them and carefully storing your garden hoses. Back to our friend Jeff (my dad) who taught me how to properly drain garden hoses by draping one end over a tree limb, letting gravity drain the water from the hose so it won’t freeze in your garage with water still inside. Bonus: This is very entertaining to children if you soak yourself, or dogs who HATE the rain, but seemingly love stale hose water…

Winterize Tip #4 – Keep Your House Safe

  • My reason for installing a security system was to have a central reporting fire alarm to protect my dogs (if we ever leave our house again). I chose SimpliSafe for the price point and also a few of the fun bundle features: 
    • A video camera doorbell 
    • A customizable freeze sensor (I chose the pipes in the basement along the exterior walls)
    • A portable water sensor (I placed this near my hot water tank, but you could also place it by the washer, under the sink, or anywhere there could be a leak). 
    • Mobile push notification alerts 
    • Bonus: Having an alarm, a freeze sensor, and a water sensor saves me $100 annually on my homeowner’s insurance!

I hope these suggestions carry you through this winter season and provide a great (re)start to 2021. And I would love to hear from you. Have you tried any of these tips to winterize your home? How did they go for you? Do you have any of your own you would like to share?

Warm regards,

Aryn Bates, CAPI, CPRIA

Personal Lines Advisor: sharing all things about how to best enjoy your home life. 

About Overmyer Hall Associates

Overmyer Hall Associates is one of the fastest growing agencies in the country, quickly becoming one of the largest property and casualty insurance agencies in Central Ohio. Overmyer Hall Associates provides clients with insurance and risk management, specializing in Business Insurance, Surety Bonding, and Home & Auto Insurance. Since its founding in 2011, the firm has been awarded Columbus Business First’s "Fast 50" and "Best Places to Work" awards, the IIABA’s “Best Practices Agency” recognition, Columbus CEO Magazine’s “Best Insurance Broker” and the Columbus Young Professionals Club’s “Wonderful Workplace for Young Professionals” award.