Tips for Protecting a Home from the Ravages of Winter
As temperatures across the nation reaching dangerous levels, now is the time to make sure that your home is prepared to deal with the icy conditions. Fremont Insurance, a Michigan-exclusive property and casualty insurance carrier, offers a few tips to help homeowners protect their homes against two of the most significant winter risks: ice dams and frozen pipes.
"Certain areas of the country are notorious for their severe winters and the extensive damage that they can do," said Kevin Kaastra, Chief Marketing Officer for Fremont Insurance. "There are some simple things that you can do to prepare your home, and also some steps to take throughout the winter to help minimize your risk."
Ice Dams occur when heavy snow buildup melts during the day then refreezes as temperatures drop overnight. After several days of this cycle, the melted water and ice work up under the shingles entering the attic and damaging ceilings, walls and contents. To help prevent dams from forming:
- Keep gutters and down spouts clear of debris, snow and ice, so melting roof snow can flow
- Keep snow on your roof to a minimum. Roof rakes let you stand on the ground to safely pull the snow off the roof
- Evaluate attic insulation and ventilation. Good airflow is essential to a cool, dry attic
Frozen Water Pipes cause extensive damage to many homes and businesses every winter. If you think turning the heat down while you're away or on vacation will save you money, think again. If your water pipes freeze and burst, it could cause thousands of dollars in damage. Homeowners can take some simple preventive measures:
- Locate and insulate pipes susceptible to freezing – typically near outer walls, in crawl spaces, or in the attic
- Wrap pipes with UL-approved heat tape and seal air leaks
- Disconnect garden hoses and shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets
- Drain and shut off the water supply (except indoor sprinkler systems) if you expect to be away for several days
- Have someone check regularly to ensure the heat is still on and things are okay
- Make sure you and your family knows how to shut off the water to your home
If you do discover frozen pipes:
- Never try to thaw a pipe with an open flame or torch
- If pipes burst, stop the flow of water as soon as possible to minimize damage
- Be mindful of the risk of electric shock in and around standing water
- Call a plumber and contact your insurance agent right away
Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.