Keep the Cold Out this Winter
Everyone knows that winter can mean dealing with some pretty severe weather: snow, ice and cold temperatures. Despite your best efforts, sometimes the cold manages to find a way inside your home.
“Take the time before winter arrives to weather-proof your home,” says David Sanor, of Sanor Insurance Agency. “You’d be amazed at how easy it is to prevent ice dams and frozen pipes, two common causes of water damage, when you take steps to avoid them.”
Taking precautionary steps now can save you time, money and the hassle of filing a claim later. Disastersafety.orgoffers the following winter weatherizing tips:
· Seal windows and doors
Caulk or apply weather stripping around drafty doors and windows to keep heat in. You can also place insulation film over windows to help keep the cold out.
· Clean out gutters
Clear gutters of leaves and other debris so water can flow easily. Water that gets trapped in clogged gutters at the edge of your roof and refreezes can create ice dams. Ice dams add weight to your roof and can cause leaks if water builds up and can’t escape down gutters and downspouts. Installing a leak barrier underneath shingles can also help prevent water from seeping in during the winter.
· Insulate and ventilate your attic properly
Insulating your attic will keep heat from rising and melting snow on the roof. Properly installed insulation should rise above the level of your floor joists, not sit below or level with them.
Ventilating your attic is just as important. Heat that does manage to rise through the insulation needs an outlet to escape through. Additionally, vents allow cool air from outside in. Having a cooler attic will help prevent snow from melting and refreezing on your roof.
· Remove excess snow and ice from your roof
Snow and ice can build up and create a weighted load on the roof. Knock it down with a heavy push brush or snow rake before ice dams can form. Some homes have higher roofs than others. If you need to use a ladder to reach your roof, consider how comfortable you are with doing so. If you’re not, call a contractor or roofer to come and knock the snow down for you.
· Watch for frozen pipes
Frozen pipes can cause a homeowner a lot of aggravation, especially if they burst. When the temperature in your home drops too low, the water in pipes can freeze. Once water turns to ice it can expand, which pipes are not designed to accommodate. If you have pipes that run through an exterior wall in your bathroom, kitchen or laundry room, its best to insulate around them to keep them from freezing. Keep your home at about 55 degrees Fahrenheit and know where the shut off valve for your pipes is, just in case.
If you didn’t fortify your home against severe weather, don’t panic. There are several things you can do to your home even late in the season like monitoring your pipes for signs of freezing, removing excess snow from your roof and sealing drafty windows.
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