Winter storms can range from a few inches of snow to blizzards and freezing rain that lasts for days. According to FEMA, winter storms can be especially deceptive because most deaths and injuries are indirectly related to the storms and caused by unpreparedness.
No matter the extent of the winter weather we experience this year, we want to make sure you are safe. We have compiled a list of cold weather tips to keep you and your family out of danger both at home and on the road.
Keep an eye on snow accumulation on your roof. Heavy, wet snowfalls wreak havoc on roofs that cannot hold the weight. Contact a roofing contractor to ensure safe removal of large accumulations of snow.
Remove snow from stairs, window wells and walls. Where snow is left against your home it can melt and leak into your home. As soon as possible, shovel the snow away from your home to avoid this potential water damage.
Make sure your attic is properly vented. If the temperature of your attic is too much warmer than outdoor temperatures it will melt the snow on the top of your roof and the melted snow will travel down to the edges of your roof and freeze, creating damaging ice dams.
Clean leaves and other debris from your gutters. If the gutters on the roof of your home are clogged, melting snow cannot properly drain from your roof. When the temperature drops again, the water will freeze in the gutters. Water can then back up into your roof and freeze, damaging the structure of your home.
Check that there is adequate insulation in the attic. Heat rises, so it stands to reason that much of your home's heat loss comes from insufficient insulation in the attic. Adding a layer of insulation will save you a significant amount of money on your heating costs.
Be prepared for a winter storm. You never know when a storm may hit and leave you without power or unable to get out of the house. Stock up on non-perishable food, blankets and batteries for flashlights. You may want to also consider getting a backup generator for emergency power outages.
Winterize your plumbing to avoid freezing. Drain outdoor lines and insulate pipes that travel through unheated spaces in your home to avoid frozen pipes. Learn more about how to avoid frozen pipes.
On the Road
Get a vehicle tune-up and fluid top-off. Make sure your vehicle's battery and ignition system are in near-perfect working order to avoid getting stuck in the cold. Also make sure your oil and antifreeze are filled to the appropriate levels.
Have a mechanic check your breaks. Cold snowy and icy conditions mean your breaks could be more important than ever. Make sure your breaks are up to par before driving this winter.
Inspect your vehicle's tires. All-weather tires are usually adequate, but if the weather turns extremely bad, you may want to consider dedicated snow tires or carrying snow chains.
Carry an emergency kit. You never know when bad winter weather could leave you stranded in your vehicle. Be prepared with an emergency kit that includes blankets, shovel, extra winter clothes, emergency flares, water and food.
Whether you're traveling or at home this winter, these tips will help you remain safe.
As the weather grows colder, more people continue to reach for their heating equipment. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), heating equipment caused 21% of home fire deaths in 2010. No matter how you stay warm this winter, we want you to be safe, so we compiled a list of safety tips for each heating source.
Your central heating system is the single most important factor in staying comfortable this winter. To ensure safe operation of your furnace all winter long, we recommend the following actions:
Wood stoves cause over 9,000 residential fires each year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. To prevent this, make sure your wood stove is safe by observing the following:
A fireplace can offer both relaxation and warmth. Many families associate the winter and holiday seasons with gatherings around the fireplace. Here are a few ways you can keep your fireplace safe:
Electric & Kerosene Heaters
Portable heaters can be extremely dangerous if not used with caution. We suggest installing a zoned heating system instead of using an electric or kerosene space heater to heat a cold room. But if you do find yourself using a portable heater this winter, here are a few tips:
As the weather grows colder and you turn more and more to heat sources to keep yourself warm, remember these tips to keep your family and your home safe this winter.