The Fun of Drastic Weather Shifts
2-21-14 | Personal | Mike Pratt
And by Fun we Mean…
Anyone who lives in Louisville or its surrounding areas knows the “winter months” can often bring snow one day and t-shirt/shorts weather the next. So it’s easy to overlook the importance of getting your home and business “winter” ready. But if you really think about it, the drastic weather changes we often experience in this area should be an indication of just how much we really need to be prepared for whatever is thrown our way. With rain quickly turning into ice and high winds shifting into tornados, don’t you want to be prepared?
Preparing your Home Checklists
The I.I.I. and the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) offers these tips:
Storms & Tornados
- If you are up the task of building your own shelter, the Creating a Safe Room project is a great resource.
- If building or installing a tornado shelter is not an option, the next best thing is to identify the safest area of your home. This is usually a basement or a small interior room without windows, such as a bathroom.
- The more walls between you and the outside, the better.
- Replace rock/gravel landscaping material with shredded bark.
Put together an emergency kit that includes first aid supplies, a portable NOAA all-hazard radio, a flashlight, extra batteries, basic tools, work gloves, portable lanterns, a signaling device such as an air horn, prescription medications, extra car keys, extra eyeglasses, cash and important documents such as insurance policies. Don’t forget water, a non-electric can opener and non-perishable foods.
Snow & Ice
- Trim trees and remove dead branches. High winds, ice and snow could cause weak trees or branches to break and damage your home or car, or injure someone walking by your property.
- Clean your gutters. Remove leaves, sticks and debris from gutters, so melting snow and ice can flow freely. This can prevent ice damming, a condition where water is unable to drain through the gutters and instead seeps into the house causing water to drip from the ceiling and walls. And don’t forget about gutter guards!
- Repair steps and handrails. This may prevent someone from falling and being seriously injured. Broken stairs and banisters can become lethal when covered with snow and ice.
- Keep your house warm. Set the thermostat to at least 65 degrees. Since the temperature inside the walls, where the pipes are located, is substantially colder, a higher home temperature can help keep the pipes from freezing.
- For pipes on outside walls in kitchens & bathrooms, open cabinet doors to keep warm air flowing to the pipes.
Add extra insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. If too much heat escapes through the attic, it can cause snow or ice to melt on the roof. Water can then re-freeze, causing more snow and ice to build up. This can result in a collapsed roof. Ideally, the attic should be five to 10 degrees warmer than the outside air. Well-insulated basements and crawl spaces can help protect pipes from freezing. You may also consider insulating unfinished rooms such as garages to keep pipes from freezing.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 80 percent of homes built before 1980 are not properly insulated, so there’s a good chance your home is not as insulated as it should be. Adding insulation is also one of the fastest, cheapest ways to retain heat and save on heating bills.
Have the heating system serviced. Furnaces, boilers and chimneys should be serviced at least once a year to prevent fire and smoke damage.
Learn how to shut the water off and know where your pipes are located. If your pipes freeze, time is of the essence. The quicker you can shut off the water or direct your plumber to the problem, the better chance you have to prevent pipes from bursting.
For more information or if you would like to discuss your current coverage and how it relates to storm/winter damage feel free to contact us anytime!