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It is all too easy to forget how brutal a stormy winter can be. Left unprepared, heavy snowfall will not only leave you trapped with cabin fever, but it can also severely damage your home and property.
For anyone living in an area that can expect to see even just a few inches a year, it behooves them to take the proper steps to guard against the worst that a blizzard has to offer. You will want to go beyond just looking for ways to clear snow.
Preparing Your Home for Heavy Snow
Heavy snowfall is as dangerous as it is beautiful. Here is a brief guide to dealing with the worst of the white stuff so you can enjoy it anxiety-free. The biggest factor you can do for yourself is to plan for snow when you least expect it.
Start getting ready for a blizzard at the end of summer and beginning of fall. It is during these times that you will be able to prep your home before it is too late. Here’s how.
Take Action Early
You can invest early on in a snow shovel, high tech snowblower, and salt in the off-season when they will be much less expensive. Be careful about what you invest in, however. Shovels are easy to find but for going to the next level you will want to find the best snowblowers for home use.
There are a lot for factors to consider for this kind of equipment. Check out a guide to buying a snowblower.
Have your boiler serviced. You don’t want this busting in the middle of a cold snap. Next, revamp your insulation. Take the time and effort to replace or increase the insulation in your walls and elsewhere. It will keep temperatures comfortable and stable during the bleakest months.
Take this a step further and weatherproof any and all gaps that might be in your doors and windows. Combined with proper insulation, this will keep the warm in and the cold out and will save you a fortune in energy bills. Weatherstripping tape and insulation is available at most hardware and DIY stores.
Before the winter hits, check, repair, and reinforce your roof. Once the snow starts to fall the excess water and weight will exacerbate any and all problems that were there before. When it all thaws you could be left with cracks and shattered tiles. Worse yet, when the snow gets too heavy parts could actually cave in. Use the summer months to make sure the roof is up to snuff.
While you’re up there, clean and clear the gutters. Take note if they need replacing. Just like the roof, gutters will easily break in winter conditions if they are not maintained. Lastly, if possible, make a project out of insulating your pipes if you haven’t done so already. This will keep them from freezing and wearing down. Moreover, use the plumbing project to repair leaks and other minor problems. A blizzard can turn small plumbing and water issues into catastrophes.
Preparing For Heavy Snow Outside Your Home
This is where your snow shovel or snow blower comes in handy. Every few inches or so, make sure you are regularly clearing the snowfall away. This will save you from both having to deal with massive amounts of snow at one time and the lower layers from melting and refreezing. Even a powerful snowblower slows down when it hits a serious ice patch.
When the temperature starts to drop, consider trimming weak and dangerous tree branches or shrubs. If there is a branch that hangs above the roof or near a window, trim it before it cracks under heavy snowfall. It will save you a lot of trouble and possible injury.
Preparing For Heavy Snow Inside Your Home
Keep your thermostat running throughout parts of the day. Regardless of whether you are home or not, regular heating intervals will help maintain a stable temperature and keep the system running smoothly throughout the season.
If you use an alternative heating source like a wood burner, then be sure you are stocked up on firewood and know where to get more if necessary. For space heaters, keep them in strategic locations that are both efficient and at least 3 feet away from furniture and curtains to prevent fires. Favor heaters that come with extra safety features and have a few hazards as possible.
Make sure ventilation, fire alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order.
Keep emergency supplies stocked and ready. This should include enough food and water for up to 3 days. Spare medicine, tools, chargers, flashlights, and batteries should also be included. Lastly, blankets, sleeping bags, and warm layers should be available for when heating fails.
Finally, make a kit for your car that includes jumper cables, a solid ice scraper, anti-freeze, and deicers. You’ll want to add a mini-survival kit like the one at home and make sure your car is winter-ready before the actual storms hit.
Heavy snow and cold snaps need not intimidate you. The best way to handle the next ice age is by preparing well in advance. Take time out of the sunny months of summer and early fall and prepare piece by piece. It is far easier to build-up snow defenses little bits at a time then after the blizzard has actually started. Winter does not have to mean cabin fever and misery.