Winter Weather is on the Way; IBHS Offers Guidelines to Prepare Your Home or Business, Before Jack Frost Does His Work
TAMPA, November 16, 2017 – Fun, fierce, beautifully bright and darkly cold – winter is many things to its beholders, and subject to plenty of opinion. But one thing is fact: winter can bring freezing temperatures to many places, and if home and business owners aren’t ready, the consequences can chill any budget.
“Before Jack Frost comes to your neighborhood for a brief stay or an extended visit, prepare for cold weather to help lower heating costs, prevent burst-pipe disasters and protect your roof from damage,” says Julie Rochman, CEO and president of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS).
Affordable, common sense steps include checking every opening to your home and sealing them as needed.
“If you see light or feel cool air seeping in around door or window edges, it’s simple and inexpensive to fix the seals and keep your home warmer, with lower heating costs,” Rochman said. “Air vents, fans, air conditioners, electrical and gas line entry points, mail chutes and pet doors are all places that cold air can sneak in, so check them all.”
And, don’t forget your pipes! If the power goes out and you’re bundling up, remember your pipes are subject to freezing, too. Frozen pipes can burst, often leading to more than $5,000 in damage.
“A few dollars’ worth of pipe insulation – which can cost as little as 50 cents per linear foot at your local hardware store – can save you the headache of clean up, loss of precious keepsakes, and the cost of your insurance deductible,” Rochman said. Use insulation to protect any pipes accessible near outer walls of your home, in unheated attics or the garage.
Home and business owners also should take steps to prevent ice build-up on the roof.
Heat and cold can create a melt and freeze dynamic that causes snowmelt to trickle down to the roof’s edge and refreeze. This refreezing can create an ice dam that blocks additional snowmelt, so that it goes under your roof cover.
To help minimize any damage, clean all gutters, drains, scuppers and downspouts of anything that can clog them, including leaves, debris, dirt, and stray balls or toys. The attic is also an important consideration.
“Check your attic,” Rochman says. “Seal any openings, and consider increasing ceiling insulation. Also, avoid running heat sources in open attic areas directly under the roof. Even something as simple as a lightbulb burning in an unheated attic space can cause snow melt and ice dams to form, so don’t forget to shut off bare bulb light fixtures in the attic.”
If ice dams do form, heating cables can help open drains and create a path on your roof for melting ice to follow.
For more information on these guidelines and many more, please visit www.disastersafety.org/freezing-weather/