3 Winter Storm Protection Tips

winter stormsWhile wintertime can be scenic and charming, wild weather that frequently accompanies it requires winter storm protection. According to the Insurance Institute of America, damage from winter storms accounted for $30 billion in insured losses during the twenty-year period between 1996 and 2015. These range from the effects of severely low temperatures to snow and ice accumulation and high winds. While winter weather may be unpredictable, you can remove some of the risk and uncertainty from this season by following a few winter storm protection hints.

  • Have your roof inspected. This means checking exterior shingles that prevent melting snow from leaking into the attic and causing water damage. Also attic rafters and the underside of the sub-roof should be inspected for signs of structural weakness. Roof collapse due to snow accumulation is a frequent cause of homeowner’s insurance claims during winter. Just three inches of wet snowfall on a 1,000 square foot roof weighs 3,000 pounds—the equivalent of parking a small car on the roof.
  • Cut back limbs; remove dying trees. Ice accumulation is heavy and can cause large limbs—or an entire tree—to break and fall, damaging your roof or the sides of the house. Generally speaking, it’s best to maintain a 10-foot radius around your home free of overhanging branches to eliminate risk of damage to from falling limbs. Also have any dead or dying trees on your property removed that may not be able to withstand the weight of winter ice or wind.
  • Invest in a backup generator. Most gas-fired home furnaces will not operate if utility power goes out—an all-too frequent event in stormy winter weather. A home without heat in very cold weather is at risk due to low temperature issues such as frozen pipes that rupture and flood the house. A backup generator permanently installed behind your home is hard-wired into your main electrical circuit and automatically activates if grid power goes down, whether you are home or not. This keeps the heat on and indoor temperatures in the safe range.

Winter storm protection helps prevent winter water damage. Taking some time in advance of the storm to head off problems can pay off in the long run.

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