The weather may just be turning cool, but it’s never too early to start thinking about getting your home or business ready to ensure old man winter doesn’t destroy your property and investment. As usual, meteorologists are calling for another crazy winter for the DC & Baltimore region, but there are steps you can begin taking now to ensure you’re prepared now before the deep chill sets in.
Winterproof Your Home Now!
Remember how early winter seemed to start in 2013? You might also remember that it seemed to last much longer than usual with snowfall in April! Taking steps early can help ensure you’re not stuck with a freezing disaster on your hands. More than 10% of all catastrophic losses are the direct result of winter storm damage.
The biggest concern when dealing with freezing weather and winter storms is the risk of losing heat, electricity and communications to your home and office, sometimes for days or even weeks at a time. When heating is insufficient in your home or business, the risk of frozen pipes and pipe bursts increase exponentially. A burst pipe can unleash hundreds of gallons of cold water per hour, quickly creating costly water damage inside your property.
So what can you do now? To start, ensure you have a winter emergency kit on hand. Your emergency kit should be stocked with rock salt to help melt ice on walkways; sand or kitty litter to increase traction on frozen walkways; sufficient heating fuel, or good supply of dry, seasoned firewood for a fireplace or wood-burning stove in case you become isolated in your home; and a supply of warm clothing and blankets.
- You can also winterize your home or business to extend the life of fuel: insulate walls and attics, caulk and weather-strip doors and windows, and install storm windows or cover windows with plastic.
- You should also clear rain gutters, repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on any house or structure that could provide shelter during a storm.
- Take steps to properly seal off any exterior or foundation leaks to prevent snow-melt from intruding in your property.
- Ensure all fireplaces and chimneys are cleaned to prevent costly and damaging chimney fires, and make sure all fire extinguishers in your home are operational and that all occupants know how to operate one.
- Maintain and inspect other sources of heating such as furnaces and other equipment.
- Check and test all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and refresh batteries.
Though temperatures are not yet cold enough to cause much concern about pipe freezing, there are steps you can take now prevent frozen and burst pipes.
- Exposed piping should be covered with heating tape, insulation or even newspapers to protect against freezing.
- Consider installing an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system. The emergency release valve protects them against the increased pressure caused by frozen pipes, preventing a burst.
- Allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing and ultimately bursting. A
- ll occupants of your property should know where the water valves are located and how to shut them off in the event of a burst pipe.
- If you’re going away from your property for an extended amount of time, shut the water off and consider hiring a professional to drain the water system to avoid coming home to a flooded home.
Sometimes, winter storm damage is inevitable. Regardless of however well-insulated and heated your home is, winter storm damage can occur on your property due to high winds or falling trees. A surprise storm could also leave you stranded away from home and unable to effectively prepare your property.
If you experience winter storm damage in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC, know that you can always count on the experts at Tri State Restorations to help you recover your space. We’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for your convenience and can be on site within 90 minutes to mitigate the damage. Contact us today!