Winter Safety Tips for Your Home
We never know what to expect from winter in the Mid-Atlantic. Average snowfall totals vary greatly, especially in Maryland. Baltimore hasn’t reached 20 inches of snow in each of the last three winters, while the western part of the state annually averages more than 11 feet. But wherever you are in the region, the weather poses a potential threat for homeowners. Ice accumulations, heavy snow, and subfreezing temperatures put a house’s structural integrity at risk and threaten the safety of those who live there. Winter can still be wonderful, but it’s best when you’re prepared for it. Here’s what you need to know.
Before the first flakes fall, inspect the roof to identify and replace missing shingles and make any necessary repairs. Clear away leaves and other organic matter to prevent it from rotting over a wet winter. Snow build-up also is a concern for those with flat or low-pitched roofs. Be on the lookout for sagging or leaking after heavy snowfalls and enlist the services of a snow removal company.
Heavy snow also threatens aluminum fences, but there’s more to worry about than just the weight. The repeating freeze/thaw conditions cause the soil to shift, jeopardizing the stability of fence posts. Whatever winter does to your fence, though, Excel Fencing & Decking is here to help. Our talented fence installation experts can handle any fence repairs and give a thorough professional inspection.
Make sure gutters are cleaned before the first freeze. Leaves and other debris will cause ice dams, which damage shingles and lead to water damage. Clogged gutters also threaten safety with large icicles. Carefully knock them down if any develop, especially when located around high traffic areas like porches and walkways.
If you keep your car in a garage, never start it with the doors closed. It may be warmer than having that bitter wind whip inside, but it’s not worth the risk of carbon monoxide seeping into the house. If it’s too cold, you might consider insulating garage doors. It offers a significant increase in heat, while also protecting your car and other equipment from extreme temperatures.
Good lighting is more important in winter than any other time of year. With the sun setting in early evening, we’re often out and about in the dark, and there’s always the constant threat of icy surfaces. Make sure exterior lights are in working condition and replace all bulbs so you and your loved ones are never left in the dark.
Don’t let a frozen pipe burst your winter fun. Shut off water to outside faucets and drain the line, as well as the garden hose before disconnecting it for the winter. Wrap exposed pipes with foam insulation, especially along exterior walls. When temperatures are below 20 degrees, open sink cabinets to allow pipes to warm and set faucets to a slow trickle.
Schedule a trained professional to inspect furnaces and HVAC systems every year before winter. Clear any household items that may have been placed near the furnace and make sure all vents and ducts are unobstructed by furniture or curtains. Check and replace filters every month.
Excel Fencing & Decking has been making homes safe, and beautiful, in the greater Baltimore region for more than two decades. If you need help preparing – or repairing – your home interior or exterior for winter, call us at (410) 803-9499.