Disaster-Proof Your Home This Winter
While the winter weather often provides us with a good excuse to get cozy and hibernate in our homes, it can also spell disaster as things can freeze, leak and break. Be prepared for winter disasters, as you don’t want to be left vulnerable during the coldest months of the year.
Use a broom or rake to knock snowdrifts and icicles down from the roof so that the weight of it doesn’t cause damage. If it looks like your roof is sagging and making creaking noises, get the snow off of there immediately. If it’s not safe for you to do this yourself, call a yard maintenance company to do it for you. This will prevent expensive repairs and interior damage if water were to get through.
You also don’t want ice dams to form in the eavestroughs.
Clear and de-ice walkways
Not all disasters affect just the house; some affect the occupants and visitors, too. Slips and falls can cause serious injury, so you need to make sure your driveways and walkways are clear so that getting to and from your house is safe and easy.
Put down salt or pet-safe ice melts on the areas you shovel to prevent ice from forming.
Check outdoor vents and taps
As snow accumulates and drifts, it can start to block vents around your house. This can be dangerous, as whatever fumes normally vent from there will be trapped in your home, potentially spoiling your indoor air quality.
Outdoor taps need to be shut off and drained for the season. They actually make covers for these, so that you can insulate them during the winter months to prevent pipes from freezing.
Look at all your trees and take down any limbs that might prove to be dangerous in the event of a storm. Large tree limbs can fall onto your house, car or even people, causing severe damage and injury.
If a tree looks like it’s dead or dying, have it cut down. The wind and the cold can make dead trees more likely to fall.
Inspect the carbon monoxide detector
Carbon monoxide poisoning cases increase during the winter months because windows are shut and many people use gas furnaces and fireplaces in their homes. Many people mistake the symptoms for the flu, as it’s the season for that as well.
In addition to having your furnace maintained and inspected, it’s important to check your carbon monoxide detector to ensure it’s still working and has fresh batteries.
Install a generator
If you live in a rural area and are subject to many power outages during the winter, consider getting a generator. This will ensure your heat stays on, and that you don’t lose the food in your fridge and freezer during long-term blackouts.
Not having heat isn’t just bad for the occupants, it’s also bad for the house — as pipes can freeze and systems can fail. You can set up the generator so that it automatically starts when a power outage is detected.
Stay warm and safe this winter by taking the necessary precautions.