So far, Winter Weather in the northeast has consisted mostly of heavy frosts and wind storms. I know it is bizarre to think about a topic such as Winter Weather Preparedness in one of the warmest Decembers on record. I can hear the hum of motorcycles from my office as I compose this. But an any point the tide can turn and we can be buried under four feet of blizzard.
Today is only the first day of winter. And being prepared for winter begins BEFORE the first flake falls.
The "WINTERAZATION" OF Your Home -
- First and foremost, clean your gutters – sticks, leaves, wet muck can clog your drainpipes and downspouts, causing water to seep into the house and the foundation of your home. Winter weather leads to thawing and freezing and can create costly damage to the houses structure. For a few hundred dollars you can hire a professional service that will remove all of the debris and make sure everything is clear and flowing.
- Invest in a backup power source. – Losing electricity in the summer can lead to uncomfortable situations. Losing power in the winter can lead to frozen pipes. And if you have ever had a pipe burst in your home or business, you know what devastation it can result in to the walls, floors, wood, appliances and furniture. When water freezes in a pipe it expands and can exert pressure over 2,000 pounds per square inch. This pressure is enough to rupture most any pipe filled with water which provides no place for the ice to expand. When the pipe bursts it will spill several hundred gallons of water per hour, and that equates to thousands of dollars of damage to your home.
- Preventing pipes from freezing in the first place - If you have any exposed water or drain piping at all in uninsulated spaces such as in a crawlspace, attic, outside walls, etc., make sure to insulate them with foam insulation at a minimum. Ideally you should wrap them with electrical heating tape first, then insulate them.
- Check windows and doors for cracks and leaks – Use weather-stripping or caulk around doors and windows to keep cold air from entering your home and warm air from escaping. Replace your summer screens with storm windows.
- Make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working- sealing up your home in winter means that inside gases can get trapped. It is always a good idea to install detectors near your furnace/water heater since carbon monoxide leaks can occur if they malfunction.
- Prepare an emergency kit – You never know when you may be snowbound for days. Instead of losing the lights and hunting around for supplies, grab an oversized box and place inside:
- Matches, Candles, dry food, flashlights, batteries, emergency phone numbers including utilities, bottled water, first aid kit, battery backup for your laptop, fire extinguisher and extra blankets.
- Make sure that you keep extra snow shovels, cat litter and warm outdoor water resistant clothing on hand.
- Prepare an evacuation plan – because you may have to leave your home in case of emergency. High snow drifts and lose of electricity may impede your ability to escape. It is easy to become confused and lose your way in a snowstorm if you are not sure where to go. Children can get lost. It is vital that you develop a plan for your family if they have to suddenly leave.
Our website (link below) is chock-full of further tips and thoughts on preparing for winter weather and blizzards. Stay safe, stay warm, stay prepared.