Top Ways to Make Your Home More Weather Resilient
Improving the resilience of your home against inclement weather is very important. During the winter, this preparation carries particular importance since storms can be especially harsh–coupled with the severe cold. The winter of 2013-14 has been incredibly difficult for most of the U.S with relentless blizzards and arctic temperatures lingering over entire regions. Making your home more resilient to storms requires looking at both the exterior and interior of the home to ensure that infrastructure and appliances are in good order. Frozen pipes, burst pipes, and roof damage are some of the most common problems associated with cold winter weather. Here are a couple tips to make your home more weather resilient year round.
Seal All Openings
Weatherstripping and sealing cracks and openings around doors and windows is one of the best ways to both protect the interior of your home from cold weather, but also reduce energy costs during hot and cold months. Seal any cracks in the walls and add weatherstripping to doors. Consider upgrading single pane windows to double pane to better insulate. Letting warm air out and cold air in is obviously a concern during the winter, so ensuring all openings are sealed is very important.
Prevent Frozen Pipes
Burst pipes are a leading cause of water damage during the winter months. Pipes can easily freeze and rupture with temperature changes such as a rapid warming. The water expands as it freezes and can cause pressure to build until the pipe ruptures. Taking care to insulate pipes–especially ones along exterior walls–is important during the late fall and throughout the winter. While it is not always possible to completely prevent pipes from freezing, namely during brutal negative double digit cold, doing everything possible to insulate pipes and mitigate ruptures is good. You should also take caution thawing any pipes since there is always a risk of fire when using any heating device.
Remove Roof Snow
Snow and ice accumulation on the roof is a concern to the weight capacity of most roofs. During the winter as snow builds, it is important to regularly clear the roof of excess snow to safeguard the roof from water damage and excess stress. Using a good roof rake, you can easily remove excess snow off the roof from the safety of the ground. Ice can be more difficult to remove, but ridding the roof of excess snow can help facilitate ice melting. If ice and ice dam formation is a serious problem, you may also consider having heat strips installed on the roof to keep snow and ice clear without having to use a roof rake. Also, monitor the condition of your roof to make sure you stay on top of any repairs that may be needed.
Prevent Ice Dams
Ice dams form as snow melt runs down the roof and settles in gutters and freezes. Often these are caused by a combination of poor insulation in the attic and debris buildup in the gutters, leaving the water nowhere to drain. Over time, ice dams can cause water damage to the roof. Preventing these from forming is a matter of ensuring proper insulation and ventilation in the attic and keeping gutters clear of debris so water runoff can flow freely through downspouts.