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Winter Home Maintenance Tips

As a homeowner, you take pride in maintaining your investment and protecting it from outside risks. Among these risks, winter weather presents some of the most significant challenges – challenges that may even lead to substantial property damage. Review these tips to help reduce your risks.

Roof Maintenance

Heavy snowfall, ice and freezing rain can wreak havoc on your home’s roof. However, there are some practical, do-it-yourself steps you can take:

Snow Removal –To aid in snow removal, you can purchase a long snow rake with an extendible arm. This tool allows you to clear away large accumulations of snow safely from the ground. Please remain attentive and keep your distance from falling debris.

Ice Removal Clearing ice from your roof can be a challenge, particularly because manual ice removal is extremely dangerous and should be avoided if possible. However, there are several safe methods to consider:

  • Use a snow rake to create a drainage path. That way, once the ice melts, water will have a means of egress from the roof, eliminating the risk of standing water and major damage.
  • Work with a contractor to install electric heating cables on your roof. This allows ice to melt and safely drain.
  • Use chemical de-icers to improve drainage.

Snowmelt

Winter does not last forever (although it can certainly feel that way)! As winter ends and temperatures begin to rise, the accumulating water from melting snow and ice leaves your home susceptible to damage. Use these tips to help reduce your home’s risk of snowmelt damage:

Clear snow from your home’s foundation – Shovel snow away from your home, including stairwells, window wells, downspouts and doors to help prevent water from seeping in through cracks.

Maintain your roof and gutters – Any heavy snow that has accumulated on your roof should be cleared away to avoid water damage. Keep your gutters clear of debris to avoid ice dams – melted snow that refreezes at night, causing gutter clogs.

Check your sump pump – Test to see that your sump pump is in good working order in case your home experiences flooding. If you notice any small leaks, take care of them before they become a bigger hazard.

Ensure proper drainage – Make sure your downspout drains away from your home and keep any street storm sewer drains clear of snow to prevent buildup and freezing.

Liability Concerns

Extreme winter weather not only has the potential to damage your home, but it can also create serious liability concerns. During the winter season, walkways, stairs, and driveways can become slip and trip hazards as snow falls and ice forms.

Should someone injure themselves on your property, you could be held liable for medical costs as well as any other damages, particularly if you didn’t take the appropriate precautions following adverse weather.

To adequately protect yourself from such liability concerns, consider doing the following:

Shovel It’s very common for someone to slip on ice during the winter and injure themselves. In order to keep you and members of the public safe, ensure driveways, stairs and sidewalks around your property are clear of ice and snow. To create an adequate walkway, be sure to clear all or as much snow away as possible.

Inspect your stairs During the winter, a slip or fall on your outdoor stairs could lead to serious injuries. In addition to clearing snow and ice from your stairs, it’s important to inspect them and ensure they are in good condition and equipped with handrails.

Trim your trees You may not realize it, but snow and ice accumulation can cause tree branches to snap and fall. When this happens, the branches can strike passersby or property below, potentially causing significant injury or property damage. To prevent this from happening, trim your trees back, focusing on any branches that overhang your driveway, walkways or your neighbors’ property

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