If you have been impacted by the current arctic temperatures, or if you live in an area frequently hit by winter storms, this article is for you! While you can’t change the weather, you can minimize some of winter’s biggest threats to your home.
Here are a few suggestions to help avoid potentially expensive damage to your home this winter.
- Keep Pipes Warm – Some of the most expensive damage comes from pipes that burst! Even if your home is warm, the areas where your pipes are located may not be (attic, basement, back of cabinets). Wrap pipes with insulation in these colder areas, or open cabinets to allow warm air to circulate. Allowing your faucets to drip will keep water moving through your pipes and also helps prevent freezing.
- Protect the outside – Clean your gutters to prevent water from clogging and freezing. Make sure spouts direct water away from your home. Trim low tree branches that could freeze or snap, damaging your home or power lines. Re-seal around doors and windows with caulk. Unhook garden hoses to prevent pipe damage.
- Carbon Monoxide – Buy a detector to protect your family! This is one of the biggest winter dangers due to improper ventilation of furnaces, generators, propane burning devices or wood stoves. It is recommended that you have a detector on each level of your home.
- Consider a Generator – This can help keep your home warm and keep things running. It can also help prevent frozen pipes and keep you more comfortable. Some insurance companies will give a discount if you have an automatic standby generator installed in your home.
- Check the Roof – If too much snow accumulates, your roof could collapse; especially a flat one or those over porches and additions. Consider purchasing a roof rake that will enable you to “pull” snow off the roof while you stay safe on the ground!
- Avoid Ice-dams – This happens when your home’s warmth melts the snow on your roof and it re-freezes near the roof’s edge. This creates a dam that can force leaks into your roof and damage interior ceilings and walls. If you see icicles dangling from your roof this could be an indication of ice-dams. To help prevent this, keep your attic cold (no more than 5-10 degrees warmer than outside). Prevent warm “leaks” into the attic by sealing holes around light fixtures and ceiling fans.
- Keep Emergency Kits – Keep one in your home and one in your car. Include items like flashlights, batteries, battery-powered radio, a car charger for your cell phone, non-perishable food items, water, blankets, some extra cash, gloves, hats, mittens, etc. Always keep your car’s fuel tank at least ½ full during the winter months.
Taking these steps just a day or two before a big storm hits can make a big difference!