Whether you live in milder climates or you endure months of snow and ice, winter weather can do plenty of damage to your home. From flooding to frozen pipes and heat loss, it’s important to know how to deal with the problems that can arise during the winter season and even more important to know how to prevent them.
Travelers Insurance company offers an informative list of common household problems related to winter storms and how to prevent them:
- Maintaining your gutters is crucial during any season, but especially during the winter when leaves, acorns and other debris can build up and block water and snow from flowing freely off the roof. Routinely clean out your gutters to prevent water and/or ice build-up, or consider installing gutter guards – screens that protect the gutter by blocking debris from getting inside.
- Diseased trees and dead branches are hazards that can cause serious damage to homes during winter storms. Wind and ice can cause them to break, posing a potential threat to your home, vehicle or anyone walking on your property. Be sure to trim dead branches, as well as remove weak or rotten trees.
- Homes in colder climates can experience frozen pipes if proper precautions aren’t taken. Use heat tape to wrap pipes, and insulate any rooms that have exposed pipes like garages or basements. Check your pipes for leaks and cracks and repair them promptly, so you can avoid more expensive repairs in the future. Learn how to shut your water off in the event your pipes do freeze; the sooner you can turn off the water, the less damage your home will suffer if pipes break.
Similar to the advice from Travelers Insurance, This Old House stresses the importance of a gutter system to protect the home from rainwater and melting snow. Ensure that water is actually carried away from your home and not being channeled near the foundation where it can find cracks or leaks into your cellar. Attach a sloped leader to your gutters to carry water at least 10 feet away from the foundation. You can find more tips on how to prevent flooding in your home at www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,228010,00.html.
Since you’re heating your home more in the winter, servicing and maintaining your furnace is crucial. The DIY Network offers some great tips on how to maintain your furnace.
- If your furnace has a pilot light, make sure it is lit; if the light is out, you should find instructions on how to relight it on the access door.
- A dirty or clogged air filter can block airflow and overwork the furnace, so be sure to check the filter every 30 days and replace it as necessary.
- Vacuum dust away from air registers, and make sure drapes, furniture and floor coverings aren’t inhibiting airflow throughout your home.
- As always, consult a professional if you have any concerns or questions about maintaining your furnace. Find more winter home maintenance tips at www.diynetwork.com/home-maintenance-workshop/winter/index.html.
No matter where you live in the country, there are easy ways to ensure that winter weather doesn’t wreak havoc on your home. By putting these simple tips to work, you can save yourself time, money and a lot of headaches.