When the future forecast calls for winter storms, the heavy snowfall, ice, and plummeting temps can mean trouble ahead for your home. Before you bundle up indoors and wait for Mother Nature to do her worst, take a few precautionary steps to protect your home from costly and inconvenient damage.
Winter Storm Hazards
Many people think winter storms are only dangerous when traveling on snowy, icy roads, but your home can take a beating from extreme winter weather, too.
- Snow: Wet, heavy snow, even in small quantities, can create a heavy load on roofs, decking, fences, gutters, trees, and power lines.
- Ice: When ice forms on the roof of your home, it can lead to water damage inside and exterior problems outside.
- Wind: Similar to high winds during spring and summer storms, winds from winter storms have the ability to tear off roof shingles, siding, and gutters. They can also break off large tree limbs or uproot trees entirely.
- Cold: When temperatures drop, pipes can more easily freeze and burst, creating water damage in your home.
Protect Your Home from Winter Storms
Though you can’t stop the snow from blowing or the temperatures from tumbling, there are some preventative measures you can take before winter storms hit that could save you both time and money when it comes to protecting your home.
- Trim back tree branches to create clearance from your home’s siding, roof, and windows.
- Increase your home’s insulation to avoid ice dams from forming on your roof, as well as to help keep heating and energy costs low.
- Have your roof inspected prior to a winter storm to ensure there is a proper moisture barrier in place to seal out water.
- Purchase a roof rake to safely remove snow from your roof while standing on the ground.
- If snow is already piled on your roof at a height unsafe to reach, consult a roofing professional to determine if it needs to be removed to avoid the possibility of collapse from too heavy a weight to bear.
- Locate your home’s water valve and learn how to shut it off in the event of a burst pipe. If you haven’t already, turn off the shut-off valve to exterior water sources, such as an irrigation system or a hose spigot.
- Seal up cracks and places air can get in around your home, including around doors, windows, pipes, and cable entries.
- Set your thermostat on a timer if you plan to be away from home during a storm. The temperature should remain above 60 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid frozen pipes.
- Repair or replace exterior siding and flashing, which can allow moisture to get in if it not properly covered.
- Have an emergency kit available in the event of a power outage or problem with your furnace. Blankets, flashlights, batteries, candles, a backup heat source, food, and water are just a few items it should include.
- If you didn’t already replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, do so now. Make sure both are in working order before a winter storm hits.
- Hire a professional to inspect and tend to any issues related to your chimney and fireplace before using to heat your home.
Your home is unique by design, its age, and the maintenance it has received. Before winter storms move in, have your home inspected for vulnerabilities that could become hazards, and amend them before a small issue turns into a big problem.