How to Protect Your Home in Winter Weather
Amy Elms Feb 2, 2016
The temperatures are quickly dropping in many parts of the US and most of us can come to expect some brutal winter weather over the course of the next few months. To prepare for the bitter cold in the months to come and avoid some serious home repairs that could quickly empty your wallet, take a look at the following ways to keep your home protected this winter:
Attic & Roof
Make sure that your attic is well ventilated so that it maintains a temperature close to that of the outdoors. By doing this, you will decrease the risk of something that is commonly referred to as "ice dams." Ice dams are formed when snow melts off the central surface of a roof, runs down, and then refreezes at the roof's edge. When ice then builds up, it blocks additional water from draining and the water is then forced underneath the roof, into the attic, and inside the walls of a house.
Ice dams can be further prevented by also making sure that your gutters are clean and that the attic floor is well insulated in order to keep a home's heat from rising. Finally, also make sure that your home's roof does not accumulate too much snow in order to prevent possible damage to your roof from the added weight.
Another element of your home that is likely to be damaged from the harsh winter is your home's pipes. It is easy for pipes to freeze and break when they become too cold due to pressure. In order to protect your pipes from the cold temperatures, begin by leaving the doors of the cabinets that contain your home's pipes open. Next, cover exposed pipes with insulation sleeves.
Finally, keep a small trickle of water flowing from your faucets, especially if you will be away from your house for an extended period of time during the winter. This will allow water to continuously run through unheated or unprotected spaces and you will be wasting so little water that you won't see any evident changes in your water bill at the end of the month.
Storm Drains & Flooring
Keep a close eye on the drains right outside your home to make sure that they don't become clogged with debris. If the drains become clogged, melted snow will have nowhere to go and water could travel underneath your home's base and into your basement, causing flooding.
To keep too much snow or ice from accumulating on the outside steps of your home, use a shovel, salt, or if need be, an ice pick. While the ice can be a danger to you and other members of your household, melting snow can also lead to water damage and moisture intrusion. Also, make sure to keep a mat in your entry way in order to prevent incoming snow from damaging hardwood floors.
In order to prepare the home for winter storms, many homeowners are now investing in generators since lack of power can cut individuals off from needed supplies and emergency services, do damage to the home, and just be generally uncomfortable. If you purchase a generator, place it in a well-ventilated, covered area. Safety at Home recommends a shed or an outbuilding as ideal locations. Avoid placing the generator in a garage or basement though since these locations could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
If you see winter as an ideal time to light candles and have a warm fire in your home's fireplace then you are increasing the likelihood that your home could be a fire hazard. In order to protect your home, regularly test your home's smoke detectors and replace the batteries if needed.
While the unpleasant winter weather may keep you indoors more than usual, by focusing on the above steps, you will be able to stay in the comfort of your home knowing that it is protected from elements, regardless of any cold weather that comes your way.