When it comes to protecting your most precious asset, it’s important to know what to do when extreme weather events threaten that can cause damage to your home. Extreme cold temperatures, heavy snow, ice, and high winds in the wintertime can definitely take a toll on residences and businesses.
Standard homeowners policies will cover most disasters, but it’s better to minimize the potential risks. Here’s how:
Keep An Eye On the Pipes
One of the biggest worries is when temperatures plummet, causing water pipes to freeze. Are you a new homeowner? You’ll want to learn how to avoid damage to your plumbing system and where to find your main water shutoff.
The lowest interior thermostat setting to avoid pipe freezing is 55 degrees. If that temperature begins to dip, you’ll want to take steps to keep the water flowing:
- Insulate exposed pipes to help keep them warm.
- Leave cabinets doors open under your sinks.
- Let faucets drip or trickle slowly so that water is continuously flowing.
The first thing you’ll notice when there’s a possible frozen pipe is the water stream from a faucet will slow or stop altogether. Don’t wait! Turn off the water source to that faucet and take measures to thaw the pipe immediately.
If your pipes burst, turn off your home’s main water supply. You can find the main shut-off either inside your home on a wall on the street side, outside near the curb under a plastic or metal lid marked WATER, or if you’re on a well system, you’ll find it near your well pump or near your pressure tank.
Drying and repairing any water damage immediately will help prevent potential problems with mold. Call a professional plumber if you need help, and also call your insurance agent as soon as possible.
Keep An Eye On the Exterior
Stay ahead of potential hazards outside your home by doing the following:
- Keep sidewalks and entrances to your home free from snow and ice to prevent damage and injuries.
- Remove any icicles from the eaves. As the icicles start to melt, they can fall and cause injury.
- Watch for ice dams near gutter downspouts. Ice dams can cause water to build up and seep into your house. Clear gutters of leaves and debris to allow runoff from melting snow and ice to flow freely.
- Keep your garage doors closed to prevent weather damage to whatever’s stored in there. Plus, if your garage is attached to your house, the home entrance door from the garage is probably not as well insulated as an exterior door so this will keep more heat in.
- If you have a pool, run the pump at night when the temperatures are expected to go below freezing to keep the water flowing through the pipes.
- As the snow begins to melt after the storm and as temperatures warm back up, look for any signs of damage.
Keep An Eye On the Power
If your home experiences an outage during a storm, try to trap as much heat in the home as possible by closing blinds and curtains. Close off rooms that you’re not using and stuff rags or towels in the door cracks to try to contain as much heat as possible.
House fires in the winter can be common, so plug only one heating appliance per outlet and keep anything flammable away. Once power is restored, check to make sure appliances are working properly.
You can best prepare for the potential of an outage by remembering to do the following ahead of time:
- Set your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings.
- Check flashlights and portable radios.
- Be sure to have extra batteries on hand.
- Fully charge electronics, including cell phones, tablets, and laptops.
- Ensure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working correctly and have fresh batteries.
- Prepare generators and other alternative heating supplies (never use a generator inside of a home, basement, shed, or garage due to the danger of carbon monoxide). Start them to ensure they are working.
- For those with well water, fill your bathtub with water to help replace the water after flushing.
- Grab extra blankets, coats, hats, earmuffs, and mittens. Dress warmly in layers.
For all of the latest information on our local real estate market in Southwestern Indiana, you can always trust the professionals at F.C. Tucker Emge. Our agents have superior training and resources at their disposal to better educate you about the road to homeownership. Even if you are 6-12 months (or more!) out from making a change, there is a lot to learn about the home buying and selling process, and our agents can help you learn what you need to know so that you can be confident in your decision and have a smooth experience when the time comes. Let’s Talk!