Prepare your home for winter storms!

By: Jean Boynton

Prepare your home for winter storms!

Tags: be prepared, winter is here

Prepare your home for snowstorms!

The first official day of winter is just a few days away, although in many areas, flurries of snow has already occurred! If you are not already prepared for the winter weather, it is important that you take all precautions to ensure that your home is in good shape and ready for snow – whether it is a small or huge storm! Whether you have lived in the area your whole life, or you are new to area winters, here are a few great reminders on how you can prepare your home for the winter:

Stock up on de-icing salt and sand. Put a little salt down on your front walk and sidewalks a couple of hours before it starts snowing. This is what the road crews do to get a jump on a storm. When it starts to snow, the salt will activate and start to melt it. Have sand handy for after the storm so you can sprinkle patches of ice or crusty snow. Always store sand indoors, as the moisture in it can cause it to freeze. Only use coarse sand; play sand isn’t good for anything besides playing in.
Make sure you have shovels. While this one may be more obvious, many people often forget to double check that they have shovels ready for use from the previous season! Get your shovels together so that you can feel confident they are working and will be ready for use.
Pull out your snow blower. Fire up that snow blower and make sure it works. If you have time, consider getting some extra parts for it, such as shear pins, bolts or clips, so you have them on hand if something should break and you can’t get out to the hardware or big box store. Put the blower by the first point of exit out of the house and cover it up with a tarp so you can easily access it when you want to start tackling the snowfall. Buy extra gas, as you could be blowing snow for a while if forecasters are correct. Or, if you don’t have a snow blower, investigate individuals in your area that provide snow removal services and get on the list before it happens.
Check your gutters. Hopefully you had your gutters cleaned when the last of the fall leaves came down. If not, call and beg your gutter cleaner to come right now. At least clear out the pile of leaves at the bottom of your downspouts so that the melting snow can drain out to prevent ice damming. Also clean out your basement stairway drain.
Get ready for the big meltdown. Test your sump pump by dumping five gallons of water around it to see whether it activates. Ensure all external drainage pipe are positioned away from home preferably running downhill away from dwellings.

Inspect & Clean your Chimney. If you use your fireplace or wood stove frequently, clean your chimney once per year to avoid creosote build up and allow proper ventilation and efficient burning.
What can your roof handle?
Fresh Snow: Roughly one foot of fresh snow weighs about five pounds per square foot on the surface of your roof. That being said, your roof can handle about four feet of fresh snow.

Old Snow: Old snow is often packed, and icier than fresh snow. About three to five inches of packed snow is equivalent to one foot of fresh snow. This means your roof can handle about two feet of old snow.

Ice: Only one inch of ice is equivalent to one foot of snow. This means that your roof is in danger if there is four feet of ice. 
Sit back enjoy the comforts of home inside while mother nature and old man winter work their magic .