If you live in a state where the weather gets cold and snowy in the winter, you may look forward to various winter sports. This may include skiing or snowball fights. However, in some areas, it’s not all fun and games. Winter can also bring extreme and hazardous weather. You can prepare for it so you are ready for whatever winter may bring you. Consider these blizzard safety precautions before you move into the winter season.
Keeping the Weather Out
One of the top blizzard safety precautions that many homeowners may not consider is ensuring there are no holes, cracks, or crevices where the outside weather can come into the house. One of the areas this can happen is your roof. If you notice any leaks in your roof, you want to address them right away. You should definitely address them before the weather turns cold. If you know there are weaknesses in your roof; you should contact a roofing contractor to assess your roof. When snow sits on your roof, it gets heavy, especially when it’s a high volume of snow or combined with sleet. If you have a weakness in some parts of your roof, the weight of the snow could cause those spots to become worse.
Another way to keep the outside cold on the outside is to ensure that you have sufficient insulation for your home. You can usually tell when your house isn’t properly insulated because you feel cold spots in your home. You may also notice increasing heating costs. Some specific areas of your home should be insulated well to keep blizzard weather out. You should check the garage, attic, and exterior walls. You can use many residential insulation products to fill in any gaps you see. Items like spray foam are easy to use and effectively fill in any holes you may have.
Before the Cold Comes
If you face fluctuating temperatures in your area, you may face wet basement issues. When it snows and the temperature drops, the snow begins to melt. As it melts, it has to go somewhere. If you don’t have proper protection for your basement, it could flood your basement and crawl spaces. This makes waterproofing your basement one of the top blizzard safety precautions. When you are looking for wet basement solutions, you have a couple of options available to you. As you can imagine, some are easier and more affordable than others.
You can improve the grading of your soil around your home’s foundation. As the snow melts, you can move it away from your foundation if you have proper drainage. You can re-grade the land by adding soil around your home’s foundation and then tamping it down. You want to create a downward slope of six inches over 10 feet of the ground. If you add flowers or plants, the roots can help keep the soil in place. Another option is to add a custom drainage system to your yard. Adding French drains and drainage to your driveway is a great way to prevent your basement from flooding.
You may not realize your hot water heater’s importance until it no longer works. It’s even worse when it stops working in the winter. During the summer months, you may be willing to go without hot water for a small amount of time. That typically isn’t the case during the winter. Another item on the list of blizzard safety precautions is caring for your hot water heater. You can take some steps to determine if your hot water heater needs a little extra attention. Taking these steps may prevent you from needing a hot water heater replacement too soon.
If you notice your hot water heater is hot to the touch, it may need service. You want to ensure that your hot water heater is insulated before the cold weather months approach. If your hot water heater is not insulated, the water sitting in the tank gets cold. What makes this difficult is that the water in the tank must heat up again. This can increase the cost of your electricity or gas. Older water heaters may not have built-in insulation like newer models do. It may be a good idea to drain your hot water tank at least once or twice per year. This process removes calcium and sediment that builds up. A significant amount of build-up in the tank reduces its efficiency.
Winter Fuel Essentials
If your house is powered by propane, there are some blizzard safety precautions you should consider before you enter the winter season. If you have used propane for a while, you probably already know that it heats your home faster with less fuel. To ensure it continues to run efficiently and effectively, you should consider some propane home service options. You should continually check your fuel supply to ensure that you don’t run out. It is a good idea to ensure that you keep your propane tank at least half the fuel. You don’t want to find yourself without propane in the middle of a below-freezing spell.
It is also a good idea to check that your system functions well before you enter the really cold months. Most likely, you haven’t used your heater in the last six months or so and want to ensure it’s running properly. Early fall is the best time to schedule any maintenance it needs. It’s in your best interest to schedule these inspections on an annual basis. This way, you can catch any small problems before they become larger and more significant. During this inspection, a technician checks the furnace, fuel tank, heat ducts, wiring, and thermostat.
As you move into winter, you may not think of fire hazards, but they are common during the colder months. Many people are taking drastic steps to stay warm and are creating fire hazards without realizing it. As a result, checking your home for potential fire hazards should be high on your list of blizzard safety precautions. You can take some easy steps to protect yourself and your house from fire. The first thing to consider is dryer vent cleaning. This is a simple but commonly overlooked practice. You may not realize it, but you use your dryer more in the winter than at other times of the year. When the lint from your dryer builds up, it is one of the leading causes of fire. You should be sure to remove the lint that builds up in your dryer lint tray. Not only does this prevent fire, but it also helps improve the efficiency of your dryer.
Another way to prevent fire in your home is to clean your chimney. Not only should you clean it, but you also want to have a chimney inspection. If you have a fireplace, it should be inspected and cleaned on a regular basis to ensure it functions properly. It is best to have it cleaned in the summer before you find yourself on a waiting list.
Daily Winter Maintenance
You never know what winter will bring, so one of the best blizzard safety precautions to consider is regular maintenance. This includes cleaning out the gutters, trimming the landscaping, turning off the water, and getting your snowplow equipment ready. A great way to do this is with a pre-season inspection of your equipment. You want to do this annually so you can be aware of any maintenance it needs before that first storm comes. If you have a snowplow on your truck and installed it yourself, you can most likely perform the inspection yourself. If not, you may consider hiring a professional to do it for you.
Some of the items you cover during your inspection should include changing the hydraulic fluid. In addition, you should grease all of the wear points and all electrical components. You want to check and tighten all of the nuts and bolts. You also want to check all components for leaks and tighten the springs. In addition, you want to adjust and inspect all of the lights and ensure all the functions are working properly.
In winter, the days get shorter, which means more darkness. As the days grow shorter, that is the time to check your outdoor lighting as an item on your blizzard safety precautions list. With just a few simple steps, you can feel confident that your outdoor lights are ready to go for any winter weather. You should test each of the lights to ensure they are working properly. This test should include any fixtures or lights that you have outside, including door and landscaping lights. If any light bulbs aren’t working, you should replace them.
When you walk around the perimeter of your house to test all of your lights, you should also clean them. Dirt collects on all light fixtures and makes the light seem dimmer than it is. It is common for leaves, dirt, and debris to get stuck on and around the lights. You can use a simple solution of soap and water to clean them. Be sure to rinse them thoroughly.
Treating Icy Surfaces
While treating icy surfaces may not seem important until it happens, you should be prepared to treat them before you need to. When there is an alert that bad weather is coming, all the necessary supplies disappear off the shelves. If you put this on your list of blizzard safety precautions and prepare ahead of winter, you will have everything you need. There are different options available for treating icy surfaces.
Anti-icing chemicals are applied before the snow starts. This is a preventative measure that helps to prevent the snow from bonding to the pavement or surface. Pre-treatment is also a chemical application that occurs before the winter weather begins. This treatment can occur as much as 48 hours before the storm happens. This also prevents ice and snow from bonding to the pavement and road surfaces. This is often when surfaces have treated road salt applied to them. De-icing is a treatment that occurs once the snow has bonded to the surface. This combines plowing and applying abrasives and chemicals to the road. You can expect plowing to occur once there is more than an inch of snow on the road.
Before the winter months roll in, you should take a good look at your yard and consider what trees should be removed. It may not seem important enough to be on your blizzard safety precautions checklist, but it is. There are many reasons why you want to remove a tree from your yard. It is best to remove it before you require emergency tree removal services. Trees that are dead, dying, or in a place that could cause damage to your home should be removed. Removing trees before or during winter is more manageable because this is when most trees enter their dormant phase. They are easier to manage when they have lost all of their leaves. They are lighter, and the branches are easier to see for cutting purposes.
Winter is also the best time to inspect your trees because cracks and other problems are easier to see when they have no leaves. As the ground becomes colder, removing the trees from the ground is easier. Winter often brings snow, ice, and hail. When you remove trees ahead of these weather conditions, you can potentially prevent storm damage to the trees and surrounding areas. If you believe you have trees that are not stable, it is a good idea to contact a tree removal company to address those concerns before winter sets in.
Winter can bring harsh weather, so you must be prepared. This guide gives you a good amount of information for the coming months. If you follow these instructions, you can focus on playing in the snow instead of being buried under it.