It’s winter here in the Northern Hemisphere. So naturally, cold weather and snowstorms are expected. But whoever anticipated words like “bomb cyclone” and “bombgenesis” being thrown around??! That’s what is buzzing on social media, referring to this massive snow storm. With such intimidating names, it is safe to say that many Americans, especially those on the east coast, are kind of freaking out. And if that’s not enough of a phenomenon, most of the United States seems to be freezing, except for the southern parts of California, Arizona, and Florida.
With all of this coldness upon us, it’s important to winterize your home as best as possible. Perhaps you have already done a lot of winterizing this season and are fully prepared. But in case you haven’t, like if you live in a place that is unexpectedly getting snow right now (surprise!), let’s talk about ways to protect your home for the upcoming storm and the rest of winter.
*And if you are in the midst of a snowstorm, stay inside and stay warm.*
Inside your Home
Windows, when it’s warm, they let light and air into your home so that it’s fresh and bright. But in the cold months, batten down those hatches! If you don’t already have storm windows, cover the inside of your windows with plastic to create more insulation and keep that heat inside. Try caulking or weatherstripping the edges of your window frame to keep cold air out too.
Keep pipes warm
You are cold, your house is cold, and so are your pipes. Since water expands when it freezes, there is a risk that the pipes in your home might burst. Prevent this by insulating your indoor pipes. Buy some pipe insulation from the hardware store if you can. If not, wrap them with blankets, newspaper, or plastic, or cut up pool noodles to keep your pipes warm. It’s also a good idea to run your faucets so that they drip or trickle during really cold weather. Keeping the water flowing and moving even just a bit will help prevent freezing. In the unfortunate case that a pipe does burst, be prepared to shut off your water.
You will be trying to keep your house warm by any means but don’t make unsafe heating choices out of desperation. With all heat sources, space heater included, make sure to keep them at least 3 feet away from flammable material. Keep space heaters on level ground and make sure to keep your room ventilated as best as possible.
Carbon monoxide detector
You will probably be running a lot of different things in order to keep your house warm. To ensure your safety, make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector and monitor that every now and then. It is a good idea to have a battery powered detector on hand in case the power runs out and you have to resort to your fireplace to keep you toasty.
Outside your Home
Snow can get pretty heavy. The last thing you want is a pile of snow on your roof right before a massive snowstorm. Before the storm really hits, make sure to get as much snow off of your roof as possible so there is no threat of it collapsing. Use a snow rake to remove the snow yourself or hire a roofing contractor to have it professionally removed. Check out diastersafety.org to estimate the weight of snow on your roof and to Prevent Roof Collapse on Homes during these winter months.
Indirectly related to the roof safety of your house, clean out your gutters! You don’t want to run the risk of clogged gutters becoming frozen and causing unnecessary damage to your house. Consider adding gutter extensions to these bad boys so that when snow defrosts, all that watery mess will drain away from the foundation of your home.
During this weirdly cold winter time, keeping your home safe and warm will help you stay safe and warm too!