In 2003, snow and ice caused roofs to collapse, trees to fall, limbs damaged structures, and it caused leaks in homes. It was Colorado’s most costly winter to date. Insurance claims for Colorado that year exceeded $93 million. Though acts of God are unavoidable and unpredictable, they aren’t necessarily unpreventable. There is plenty of ways you can winterize your home before severe winter weather strikes. Here are five ways to winterize your home in preparation to prevent damage during a winter storm.
1. Trim Branches Cutting large branches and limbs that hang over your home, carport, garage, or shed will help prevent the collapse of the structure and protect your vehicles. The accumulation of heavy ice can cause limbs or whole trees to break.
2. Clean Out Gutters The beautiful turning of the leaves has nasty consequences—dead, crunchy leaves on the yard and gathered in your home’s gutters. If you do not clean out and hose-down your rain gutters, those once-beautiful fall leaves can turn into a real disaster known as “ice dams.” When standing water in your gutters freeze, it causes ice dams that block the flow of melting snow and ability to drain—leading to leaks in your house.
3. Inspect Your Roof Heavy snow and ice places extra pressure on your roof and is the primary cause of roof damage. Inspect the shingles or tiles. Replace or fix ones that are missing or broken. Clear the roof of debris. For extra piece of mind, have a professional check the integrity of the roof and fix any weak points. During winter storms, after one-foot or more of snow, clear as much off your roof as you can safely.
4. Tune-Up Your Furnace Each year, your furnace should have a professional tune-up. Have an HVAC-certified professional perform a safety check on your furnace. They will make sure there is no carbon monoxide leak. Further, have them change the filter on your heater unit. A dirty filter can cause fires.
5. Get a Chimney Sweep A fireplace or wood burning stove not only offers a romantic ambiance and cozy feelings, but extra warmth during the winter months; or the only warmth when the power goes out! Before lighting a fire, hire a certified chimney sweep for an inspection of your chimney and flue to make sure it is clean and free of obstructions. A clean and clear chimney prevents fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
You may also want to add insulation to your attic, and weather strip drafty doors and windows to keep the warm air inside from escaping. In the event of an emergency, you can cover your windows in plastic sheeting or bubble wrap to retain heat.
How do you winterize your house? Share your tips in the comment section. If you missed yesterday’s post “30 Days of Preparing for Severe Winter Weather Day 1: Educate Yourself—What is a Winter Storm?” you can read it here.