Winter is here, so winter storms cannot be far behind. These storms can wreak havoc with your home if you do not take adequate measures to protect it. Snow and ice can make outdoor surfaces slippery, turning them into potential fall traps that could grievously injure you or your loved ones, result in blocked pipes and cause damage to your roof.
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If you know how to storm-proof your home, you can have an enjoyable winter without worrying about winter storms.
Keep Roof and Gutters Clean
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When it snows, it accumulates on your roof and in gutter. Due to heating inside the house, this snow melts and refreezes, causing small dams that prevent the snow from sliding off. You may think these ice dams are no cause for worries, but they are. The melted snow makes it way between shingles and roof seams, causing cracks that allow water to seep into your house. While gutters are not affected by heating, blocked gutters work as trap for ice and can burst or allow water to seep into your home. Make sure you clean the gutters before winter sets in. Your roof would need to be cleaned periodically throughout winter to prevent ice dam formation.
If you experience a snowstorm, keep a long-handled rake at hand. Use it to remove ice from roof. If you can afford, call in a professional to get rid of the ice and snow from your roof. Make sure your attic is insulated, as this will prevent loss of heat, which cause the snow to melt. Alternatively, you can install deicing cables on the roof. These cables need to be installed by a professional. These cables heat up and cause the snow to melt and wash away through the gutters, preventing it from refreezing.
Protect Pipes and Sprinklers
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If know a winter snow storm is in the horizon, leave the outdoor taps to trickle. The continuous flow of water will prevent the pipes from freezing. In places, like the loft or crawlspaces, cover pipes with insulating material, such as fibreglass insulation or foam rubber sleeves. Make sure crevices and cracks are sealed, so that cold air cannot make its way into these areas and still freeze the pipes.
Turn off sprinklers and shut off water supply to them. You anyway will not be watering your garden during winter and a snowstorm. Once water is shut off, make sure the pipes are completely empty. You can usually drain any water remaining using a valve or manually.
Salt the Walkways and Steps
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When you know a winter storm is approaching, immediately salt walkways and steps. This will prevent ice formation when the snow melts. If salt is illegal in the area you are living, you can substitute it with sand or deicing pellets. If you do not mind backbreaking work, you can get out handy shovel and shovel off the snow from your driveway and steps immediately after the storm passes by.
Protect Your Plants
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Unfortunately plants can freeze in snowstorms. Now you can protect their roots from freezing by covering them with tarps, burlap or blankets. If you don’t have these, use mulch to keep your plants warm. You can remove these covering when spring comes and after the frost disappears. This way, your plants will not sustain any frost damage.
Install Snow Melting System in the Driveway
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Driveways are the first casualties of snowstorms and the last thing you need is a slippery driveway. So install a snow melting system, which consists of electric cables that heat up and melt the ice. While this will cause your electricity bill to increase marginally, but it is worthwhile. You will not be using elbow grease to shovel your drive way after the storm.
image by Red Moon Sanctuary
If you use your garage at a storeroom, work space or laundry room, you should insulate it if there is no insulation or drywall. This will prevent the inside temperature from dipping and freezing you or the pipes. You can take this up as a DIY project or hire a professional contractor to do it on your behalf.
These are some simple tips that will protect your home during an ice storm and also keep you warm and toasty. Use them and see the difference this winter.