Are You Ready for Winter Storm Season?November 20, 2019
Part of being a New Englander means that you are always ready for a change in weather, no matter if it is a scalding heatwave or snowing three inches an hour. Being prepared for all kinds of weather means that you may potentially prevent damage to your home and keep yourself and your family safe. So, are you ready for this winter storm season? Here is a checklist to help you.
No, we don’t mean run to the store for bread and milk (although you may want to do that, too). Rather, gather supplies that can help keep you, your family, and your home safe for the duration of a winter storm. Collect all medications that family members may need, batteries for flashlights, a portable radio, and an emergency supply kit just in case. Some families find it helpful to keep a blizzard box in the basement with items such as matches, candles, blankets, extra cash, a phone charger to use in the car, a landline that can be plugged in, and other items specific to your family’s needs. That way they are in a central location and you don’t need to scurry around from store to store looking for what you need when a storm is bearing down.
Evaluate Your Home
If you have a wood stove or fireplace, you may want to stock up on wood or stove pellets in case the power goes out and you need to rely on one of them as a heat source.
Also, check the gutters and downspouts on your home to be sure they are cleaned out. Evaluate your home’s gutters. Clean them out so that water does not back up and freeze. Any melting snow or ice should be diverted away from your home to ensure you avoid water damage.
While you are checking the gutters, take a close look at your roof. Is there already a layer of snow on the roof? If so, you may want to use a roof rake or broom to clear some of it off so that a new, heavy layer of snow from a Nor’easter or blizzard does not add to the weight that is already there.
Continue the examination of your home before the storm arrives by trimming any low-hanging tree branches that can freeze, become brittle, snap, and damage your house or power lines. In addition, disconnect hoses that may have been forgotten in your fall clean up as well.
Take Precautions Indoors
After you have taken a close look at the safety of the outside of your home, it is a good idea to take a look around inside at some simple steps you can take to prevent water damage and/or storm-related damage.
Some of the most expensive winter damage comes from pipes that end up bursting. Even if the rest of your house feels warm, the water in the pipes in your attic, basement, crawl space, and in the back of cabinets can freeze (especially those along an outside wall). Wrap the pipes located in the cold parts of your house in insulation, and open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes. Also, let water drip slowly from the faucets to help keep the water flowing. (Kiplinger Online)
Another cause of winter damage comes from the formation of ice dams on the edges of roofs. To help protect against this problem, keep your attic cold meaning no more than 5 to 10 degrees warmer than the outside temperature. “You can do this by sealing holes from light fixtures and ceiling fans to prevent warm air from escaping into your attic,” says Remington Brown, senior engineering manager for the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety.
Avoid costly storm or water damage from the build up of ice dams or burst pipes by starting this winter storm season off with a thorough examination of your home, both inside and out. For more ideas of how to prepare for the stormy season, check out the U.S. government preparedness site. In the case of damage, we can help. Call us at (781) 933-7400 – Toll Free (800) 660-1973, or find our contact page on our website.