Protecting your home from winter risks starts with year-round maintenance. A home that is well cared for in all seasons is more likely to withstand extreme drops in temperature, strong winds and moist conditions. Your insurance company may also use the lack of maintenance and repair as a reason to deny your claim if your home is damaged in a winter storm, so start with a routine maintenance schedule that keeps your house strong in the face of winter weather.
Winter risks are worse when they catch you by surprise, so take a moment to educate yourself on some of the most common damages faced by homeowners each year. Awareness of potential problems will help you protect your home while minimizing your risk.
Direct damage from the wind isn’t the most serious winter risk. It’s the objects that the wind can send flying through the air around your property and the trees that it can knock to the ground. The beautiful tree that looks steady and majestic one day can drop to the ground or lose large, heavy branches the next day.
Protect your property by removing any outdoor furniture or other items that are easily picked up and tossed by heavy wind. If it isn’t secured firmly in place, put it away for the winter. Keep your trees properly trimmed and hire an arborist or tree service to look at trees that are possibly declining in health or weakening.
Those icicles hanging down from the edge of your sloped roof may look like the perfect winter decorations, but they’re signs that your home is possibly at the mercy of a major winter risk. As snow piled on top of your home starts to melt, it causes the water to flow downward and dam up along the edges. It can then flow over the edges, possibly freezing to form icicles. The problem is that ice is heavy and can lead to moisture leaking into your home and causing damage. (Learn more about Ice Dams here.)
Maintaining your gutters and clearing debris from downspouts can keep melted snow and rain flowing freely away from your home. If your gutters are old and no longer do their job well, investing in a new installation could protect your home from ice dams.
Think beyond leaving your kitchen faucet dripping when temperatures drop below freezing. Pipes leading to swimming pools and outdoor water features can freeze up as well. Allowing your swimming pool pump to run overnight can keep the water moving, which reduces the risk of it freezing. You can also consult with a plumber to ensure other pipes in your interior and exterior are well protected. (Learn more about Frozen Pipes here.)
Winter Safety Risks
As winter weather sets in, keep a watch over your sidewalks, garage, windows and exterior doors. Allowing snow and ice to accumulate on your driveway, porch, deck and walkway puts anyone who approaches your home at risk for a fall or driving hazard.
Also, make sure doors to the outdoors and attached garages are well insulated and remain shut in bad weather. Look over your windows to make sure moisture isn’t entering from cracks or points of damage. Your home will also stay warmer if your windows and doors are insulated.
Winter comes with unpredictable weather. Watching your home for the initial signs of damage may help you catch small problems before they because significant damage that interferes with the integrity of your property. It’s always cheaper to fix minor damage than to correct a problem that has spread over time.