Residents who live in cold-weather climates, such as the Northeast, Midwest and mountainous regions know the dangers posed by icy blizzards and other cold-weather storms. Not only does this type of weather affect the livelihood of those who endure it, but their home’s structure as well. It’s important that you understand the threats and how to protect your home from cold weather.
Cold Weather Threats
There are three types of cold-weather threats:
1. Blizzards: These storms consist of heavy winds and large amounts of snow. Without proper precautions, a blizzard can cause roof or other structural damage.
2. Ice Storms and Ice Damns: Ice storms have the ability to cover structures, trees, power lines, cars and roads with ice. As the ice melts, it’s possible for portions of it to fall and cause injury to anyone standing directly below. Ice damns on the other hand have to do with the ice that melts during the day and refreezes at night. This cold-weather condition can block water from flowing into the gutter and force it back under the roofline, ultimately causing leaks.
3. Sleet or Freezing Rain: The combination of snow and freezing rain can cause slippery conditions on roads, sidewalks and driveways.
How to Protect Your Home
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that homeowners stock up on shovels, melting agents, blankets, warm clothing, food and water, as well as have enough fuel to maintain the heat in their homes and have access to a back up heating source. Other precautions you can take are as follows:
1. Winter-proof Your Home: Before seeking refuge in your warm home, make sure to check the shutters, siding and other exterior materials to ensure that everything is secure. High winds, ice and moisture from winter storms can easily strip off these elements if they’re loose.
2. Insulate Your Pipes: Make sure that your pipes are wrapped or insulated to prevent them from freezing over and bursting. Also, know the location of your water shut-off valve in case of a leak.
3. Trim Tree Branches: Tree branches that hang over parts of your home, where you park your car, or are simply overgrown, symbolize a risk to structures, vehicles and people. It is recommended that these branches are trimmed, especially if they seem weak or sickly.
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