5 Affordable Ways to Weatherproof Your Home

As we enter the winter season and the cold begins leaking into our homes, it’s important to find affordable ways to stay warm and weatherproof your home. There are a few affordable steps you can take to ensure the cold stays outside the house – right where it belongs. Enjoy the dual benefit of staying warm and toasty and the possibility of saving a few bucks on your energy bill with these steps. 

1. Stop Leaks With Weatherstripping

There is a clever trick to help you determine if cold air is coming through the small cracks around your doors and windows. Hold a lit candle near the area where you think there may be a leak. If it flickers, air could be coming in. 

Weatherstripping is a popular winterization method because it’s affordable and easy to install. A roll of weatherstripping could cost around $5 at your local hardware store. 

2. Stop Leaks With a Door Sweep

The small gap under your door could let in as much cold air as an open window. Using a door sweep could help weatherproof your home by keeping out the cold air and – bonus – keeping out the bugs too! A door sweep is a small barrier you can install at the bottom of a door with just a few screws. Here’s one way to see if you may need to invest in a door sweep: 

Lay a sheet of paper on your door frame and close the door on it. If you’re able to pull the paper out easily without it tearing, the space under your door may be big enough to let in cold air. 

Door sweeps come in many styles and materials, but can usually be found in a hardware store for as low as $10.  

3. Insulate Your Hot Water Heater

Lots of heat can be lost through a hot water heater during colder months. Insulating the tank can help retain heat and reduce your monthly energy bill. But don’t try to cover up a hot water heater with an old comforter – a fire could start, and no one wants to be that toasty! Investing in a water heater tank cover could definitely pay off in the long run. 

4. Install a Programmable Thermostat

Fun fact: for every 1°F you turn down your thermostat, you use 1% less energy. ENERGY STAR estimates that up to $180 each year can be saved if a programmable thermostat is installed and properly used. 

Programmable thermostats allow you to automatically adjust the times your heat turns on and off, depending on when you’re home. This could save the hassle of trying to remember to adjust the temperature. And, if you have family members who love changing the temperature, this gives a great excuse to say, “hands off!”

5. Cover Your Windows With Plastic

Sure, weatherstripping is a great way to keep out the cold air. But if you prefer going the nuclear route, covering windows completely with plastic will definitely help weatherproof your home! Plastic heat-shrink window coverings are typically cheap and easy to install. They keep the cold out and let the sun in – a win-win situation. 

Check out even more ways to save money and energy this holiday. However, even with these tips, it’s important to check in with your local OKFB agent and take some time to review your Home Insurance policy to ensure everything is updated and covered.

Home Improvements that Can Add Value

As the weather warms up, many homeowners see it as the perfect time to make home improvements. If you fall into that group, then we’ve got some tips for you! We want you to get the most value out of your project, so we’re sharing insight into where to splurge and skip.


What to Consider

It’s been said kitchens and bathrooms alone often sell houses. If you want to add value and potentially get a great return on your investment, start here. Whether you do a full-scale kitchen remodel or a small renovation, do things that improve the flow of the kitchen, and make cooking easier and more enjoyable. In the bathroom, you also want to balance form and function. Buyers appreciate consistency between the kitchen and bathroom, so, if possible, use coordinating materials for cabinets, counters, floors and fixtures.

What to Skip

Buyers are often looking for storage solutions. When you are making improvements in the kitchen, make sure you add storage or counter space. Skip anything that would likely reduce the amount of storage or workspace in the kitchen. In the bathroom, buyers are looking for a place to unwind. Stick to colors that make the appearance of the bathroom clean and light. Additionally, consider optimizing for how you will be using this space every day.


What to Consider

If you are looking to build a shed, add on to your home, or add an in-ground pool, any of these projects will require a revisement to your home insurance policy. Other popular background projects to improve your outdoor living space are expanding your patio, putting up a fence or building a fish pond. When it comes to the front yard and curb appeal, plant weather-tolerant plants, add some color with flowers and shrubs and maintain outdoor light fixtures, walkways and steps.   

What to Skip

When it comes to a pool, consider if it makes sense for your home’s location. Buyers can sometimes be turned off by maintenance and insurance considerations associated with a pool. As for curb appeal, avoid any bold design changes that a new buyer may want to immediately update for their own tastes. Additionally, consider how your improvements will affect outdoor maintenance and skip any that pose a large maintenance outlook.


What to Consider

Sometimes the biggest home improvements aren’t visible. Updating your essentials, like your HVAC system, insulation, electric panels and water heater will save you money in the long run. Improving your home’s energy efficiency is important to your cost of living there and may help attract buyers to your home. Consider upgrading to energy efficient appliances. Home security is also becoming increasingly essential, so consider installing an alarm system, and check out OKFB’s home insurance discount for those who qualify.  

What to Skip

Even though an item may claim to be “green” or promote energy efficiency, make sure you research these claims before you buy. Two good signs to look for are an ENERGY STAR® logo and good sustainability ratings online. The value of these upgrades, can improve your quality of living and at times lessen living costs. However, if you are making these improvements to increase the resale value, skip on anything that doesn’t allow you to market your home as energy efficient.

As you make improvements to your home and property, remember that changes often mean you will need to adjust your Home Insurance coverage! Contact your OKFB agent today to discuss any planned or recent home improvement projects.

How to Minimize Flooding in Your Home

With spring officially here, the start of storm season is right around the corner. You may not be able to prevent the springtime floods, but you can take steps to minimize flooding and water damage to your home. Check out these tips, and don’t forget to contact your OKFB agent to discuss your options for flood protection. 

Give Water Somewhere to Go

Water needs to have a designated route for it to flow away from your home. To make this possible, you need to ensure there is proper guttering and that the gutter is free of debris to allow water to flow. You should also adjust any landscaping that may force water toward your foundation. If flooding is significant and consistent over time, consider utilizing a French drain or pump system. These systems actively remove water away from your home and minimize flooding.

Maintain a Strong Foundation

Foundations are key! Water getting under your house or in your foundation can create costly damages. Examine and patch any holes or cracks in slab foundations. If you’re not very handy, you can consult with a professional or seek guidance at your local home improvement store for the best solution to fit your situation.

Protect Your Appliances

Air conditioners, generators, fuel tanks and similar items often reside outdoors. Although they’re often made to withstand the elements, they’re not usually made for standing water and can flood out. Raise these items up on a platform and secure them because it offers extra safety and protection and can minimize flooding.

Stay Safe

Stay aware of weather conditions and seek the most recent information on local TV, radio or Internet sites. Avoid flooded areas. If you have advance warning the area around your home may flood, remove your family to somewhere safe. If possible, be prepared with essentials. For instance: identification, medications and your insurance agent’s contact information.

Learn more about homeowners insurance and flood protection by contacting an OKFB agent near you.