Wind, snow, and ice may be dangerous to your house and your finances. Fortunately, there are precautions you can take to avoid the expense and bother of winter damage – as well as savings on heating bills.
Though typically winter house preparation should be completed in the fall, it’s never too late to take care of your home when the temperature drops. Here are a few tips to help you prepare your house for freezing weather.
Tips for Protecting Your Home From Freezing Temperatures
When it comes to weatherproofing a home in a cold-winter climate, the various structural and mechanical systems have an additional burden. Water might be challenging in any situation, but the difficulties are much more significant in locations where it stays snowy and icy for weeks or months on end.
Here are some guidelines to help you avoid the problems caused by frigid temperatures and weather.
Winter Weather Prep For The Outside Of Your Home
When the weather goes south, and the snow seems to trap you inside, you’ll be relieved that you have taken these precautions to secure your home.
Remove leaves, twigs, and other debris from your gutters to allow melting snow and ice to flow freely. This can avoid ice damming, which occurs when water is unable to drain through the gutters and instead seeps into the house, which might make water drip through the ceiling or into the walls.
You might also consider installing gutter guards. Gutter guards keep debris out of the gutters as debris might interfere with the water’s flow away from the house and into the ground.
Trim trees that are overgrown or dead branches to prevent them from breaking away and causing damage to your home or vehicle. Trimming excess branches could also prevent the weather from hurting someone who may be walking by your property.
It’s also possible that your stairs and handrails need to be replaced. When snow and ice accumulate on broken steps and railings, they become highly dangerous.
Use caulk to seal cracks and wall gaps to keep chilly air and dampness out of your house. Weatherstripping around windows and doors will prevent heat from escaping and cold air entering.
Prepare The Inside Of Your House For Freezing Weather
Water pipes can break due to extreme cold, snow, and ice. Likewise, water heaters are more likely to fail in the winter because of colder temperatures. Ensure your home’s internal systems are in working order for safety and efficiency. Consider having your heating system inspected. Furnaces, boilers, and chimneys should be serviced at least once a year.
Consider Adding Extra Insulation
Attics, basements, and crawl spaces can all benefit from extra insulating. For example, heat may escape through an attic when the temperature is too high, causing snow or ice to melt on the roof. Water then may refreeze, resulting in more ice buildup—and possibly ice dams that cause your roof to collapse. Well-insulated basements and crawlspaces will also aid in pipe protection. To keep pipes from freezing, consider insulating garages and other unfinished surfaces.
Insulation or plug-in heating cable can be used to prevent pipes in attics and crawl spaces from freezing. Make sure you get UL®-rated versions of heating cables with built-in thermostats; they will turn on the heat when it’s needed. Always follow manufacturers’ recommendations carefully when using the cables.
Install an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system. This will prevent the system from being overwhelmed by freezing pipes and possibly causing a pipe to burst.
Take Steps To Prevent Flooding
Your experienced contractor can also help you avoid flooding from melting snow and ice runoff by suggesting actions to prevent it. For example, internal basement wall coatings, sump pumps, and other improvements may help protect your property and belongings from water damage.
Consider purchasing a sewer backup insurance policy. Sewer systems may be overwhelmed by melting snow flooding. Thousands of dollars in damage can be caused to floors, walls, furniture, and electrical systems if raw sewage backs up into the drains in your home.
Sewer backup is not covered by standard homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, and it isn’t covered by flood insurance; nevertheless, it may be purchased as a separate product. Contact your insurance provider and ask them what they recommend.
Prepare Emergency Kits
Make a winter survival kit: Road salt, non-perishable foods, a car charger for phones, flashlights, batteries, and sleeping bags. Extra cash is always helpful. Channel your inner Boy Scout by keeping emergency supplies available when severe weather strikes.
If possible, include any medicines or first-aid supplies in the kit. Most convenient stores have ready-made disaster kits available if you don’t want to make your own emergency pack.
Contact Your Insurer
Check to see if your policy covers any winterizing expenses, such as stormproof shutters or sensors that detect high water flow and automatically turn off the water supply. These fixtures can help you save money on your insurance premiums too. Keep in mind that the insurance company benefits when you take steps to safeguard your property.
Invest In A Home Generator
To ensure that your refrigerator, heating system, and lights stay operational in the event of a power outage, get a standby generator that can keep you and your family warm and keep your pipes from freezing. Generator prices for small homes can be as little as $500. First, do some homework to figure out what type of generator would work best for your family. Then, before you install one, consult an expert electrician and make sure what you’ve chosen is safe and efficient.
Install A Carbon Monoxide Detector
Keep your family safe and warm! If you don’t ventilate your heating equipment properly, it might leak carbon monoxide, which is harmful. Carbon monoxide detectors will let you know if something is wrong so that you can address the problem.
Montana gets COLD. You want your home to keep you and your family safe and warm. Taking care of these weather tips on your home can help ensure that your home stays in good order for a long time.
Did we miss anything? Share your thoughts about winter home prep with us! We’d love to hear how you prepare your house for freezing weather.