Winter Weather: How to Protect Your Home

Snow! Ice! Freezing temperatures! Oh my!

A winter wonderland can quickly lose its 'wonder' if you experience damage to your home or property from the inclement weather. Here are 12 quick tips to save you time, money, and hassle this winter season.

  1. Repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
  2. Have chimneys and any heating equipment cleaned and inspected on a yearly basis.
  3. Make sure you’ve installed smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and ensure they’re working with fresh batteries. Consider testing them monthly and replacing their batteries twice a year. Install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector near fireplaces, wood stoves, and kerosene heaters.
  4. Take the necessary steps to protect pipes from freezing. Insulate all water lines that run by exterior walls and other areas that are prone to freezing with heat tape, insulation, or newspapers so your water supply is less likely to freeze. Allowing faucets to drip a little during cold weather can keep them from freezing. Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.
  5. Make sure your home is properly insulated by using storm windows, plastic, weatherstripping, and insulation around windows and doors to eliminate drafts. Cover windows with plastic from the inside to keep the cold out, caulk and weather strip doors and windows, and be sure you have the proper insulation in your walls and attic.
  6. Purchase a power generator or wood-burning stove that can provide backup power in case of an outage. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and know how to use it safely. All heating sources should also be installed according to local codes and permit requirements. Fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside to prevent carbon monoxide from getting trapped inside the building.
  7. Regular fuel sources may be cut off, so consider storing sufficient heating fuel, such as firewood or coal. However, be cautious of fire hazards when storing any type of fuel.
  8. Never use heating sources in partially enclosed areas and make sure that units are located away from windows, vents, and doors that can allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
  9. Have a qualified technician check your furnace system and vents to make sure they are functioning properly.
  10. Hire a professional to check the structural integrity of your roof and its ability to carry the weight of accumulated snow.
  11. Winterize any barns, sheds, and structures in addition to your home that may provide shelter for family, neighbors, livestock, or equipment.
  12. Have an emergency preparedness kit on hand for you and your loved ones.

*Source JGS