Keeping Your Home Protected from Winter Storms

February 18, 2014

As severe winter storms sweep across the U.S and Canada, revisiting how to keep your home protected from the effects of the ice and snow is important. Cold weather is extremely hard on the exterior of homes and puts strain on internal systems in terms of energy output. Equipping and maintaining your home to deal with harsh weather is important through every season. Much like any form of preparation, keeping your home in good condition to withstand severe weather is an ongoing process. If something is in severe need of repair or upgrade, obviously you should do it. Otherwise, there are a few important areas to focus on when preparing your home for increased resilience to harsh weather.

Protect Your Roof

The roof is everything in a home. If your roof is damaged, repair can be enormously expensive and compromise a lot of other parts of your home. During the warmer months, making any repairs will be much easier and is always a good idea for preparation during the cold and/or stormy months ahead. Snow accumulation on a roof is a big concern most places, and evaluating your roof’s condition and resistance to the weight of snow is important. Ice and snow pack can add a lot of weight to a roof and stress it beyond capacity. Beyond inspecting the roof for structural weakness and shingle damage, you should regularly remove snow pack with a roof rake during the winter season and actively prevent ice dams by clearing gutters and making sure attics are insulated and ventilated. Heat buildup in the attic can melt snow and ice and cause runoff, which can freeze in debris clogged gutters.

Insulate Pipes and Weatherstrip

Ensuring heat retention and cold prevention is the number one aim for most people at home during the winter. Keeping utility costs down is also a big part of this. By weatherstripping doors and sealing cracks and leaks around windows, you can retain more heat indoors, prevent cold drafts, and ultimately save on heating costs. If your home has single pane windows, upgrading to quality double paned glass is a good way to further increase energy efficiency. Burst pipes are also a serious concern during polar temperatures. Insulating pipes along exterior walls with foam tubing can help keep pipes from freezing and bursting. While there is often no guarantee that pipes won’t freeze during severe cold, taking steps to protect them to ensure they don’t burst is the highest priority. Its a good idea to regularly run water through pipes and keep your home a consistent, warm temperature to keep internal pipes from freezing.

Address Damages Quickly

Sometimes damages are unavoidable and severe storms take their toll on structures. When this happens the best thing you can do is address damages as quickly as possible. If an appliance fails, it may or may not be an emergency, but when a pipe bursts or something like a water heater or furnace goes out, you will need to address the problem asap. Being equipped with tools and basic building materials to fix minor damages is always good, but knowing when to call a professional is important as well. If you’re dealing with water damage from a burst pipe, it is best to get a cleanup expert on the phone as soon as possible before the damage sets in and becomes worse. In most ways, protecting your home from winter storms always comes back to preparation.

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