How To Prepare Your Home for a Severe Winter Storm
The average house certainly looks formidable yet even the largest living spaces can be compromised by a powerful winter storm. Between harsh winds, snow flurries, ice jams and freezing cold temperatures, you and your digs are subjected to a seemingly endless number of threats in the winter. Here’s how to prep your home for a harsh winter storm.
Start Shopping Today
Your home requires all sorts of tools and items to emerge unscathed from an especially nasty snow storm. Buy a snow shovel, snowblower, bottled water, salt/sand and anything else you envision yourself needing to clear your property of snow. Plan ahead, buy now and you will be prepared for snow removal once the white stuff arrives.
Insulate Your Home
A properly-insulated home will remain that much warmer even when the temperatures dip down below the freezing mark. If your home lacks sufficient insulation, your furnace will have to operate that much more frequently. This unnecessary operation reduces the machine’s useful life, spikes your heating bill and increases the chances of a breakdown that leaves you bone-chillingly cold in the dead of winter. So be sure to insulate your home’s pipes, walls, attic and beyond. Add weather-stripping to windows and doors will also help to guard against drafts.
Let Water Trickle From Faucets
Winter weather savants are often quite proud to clue others into this tip: let your faucets drip water when the temperatures get down near the freezing mark so they remain functional even when it is below zero outside. This gradual drip will prevent the pipes from freezing, especially in parts of the home likely to freeze. Even if you do not want to turn on every single faucet, at least let those in the bathrooms drip as these spaces are typically prone to freezing. It will also help to keep cabinet doors open so warm air can reach the pipes and reduce the chances of freezing that much more.
About Those Frozen Pipes…
If your home’s pipes freeze during a winter storm, take off any insulation previously placed around them. Apply towels to the pipes to absorb the moisture as the thaw occurs. It is a mistake to use a blowtorch to thaw pipes as the sudden influx of heat has the potential to cause the pipes to burst.
Prepare Another Source of Warmth
There is a chance your furnace will give out during the storm. The power might go out as well so a space heater won’t keep you and your loved ones warm. If your home has a fireplace, make sure logs are chopped and ready to be put in the fire. Have several large, warm blankets accessible. Candles, flashlights, batteries and matches should also be within easy reach.
Evaluate Your Roof for Potential Ice Dam Formation
The last thing you need is for moisture to freeze in or near your gutters and create one or several ice dams. These dams prevent rainwater and its accompanying gunk (leaves, twigs, dirt, etc.) from moving off your roof on through the downspout to the ground below. Take a close look at your roof and gutters to determine if there are any obstructions. If you notice any water has frozen, be sure to break it apart or hire an ice jam specialist to do so on your behalf.