After the Snow
Protecting Your Home Before & After a Snow Storm
Large quantities of snow can also pose some very real concerns to structures. Here are some tips to help minimize the damage.
- Keeping water away from the house is important. Clear out any basement window wells of snow or water to prevent it from seeping through window frames.
- Create a barrier of packed snow around basement window wells to prevent water from running into them.
- Shovel snow away from beside the home’s walls if possible to reduce water intrusion.
- Make sure that water overflowing from eavestroughs and downspouts runs away from the house.
- Remove snow from doors and windows to prevent water intrusion. Windows facing directly against the snow or wind may be more prone to heavy snow damage.
- Clear the areas around exhaust pipes and air vents on heaters, furnaces and dryers.
- Watch out for snow-covered trees close to buildings since branches can break and cause damage to nearby structures.
- Ensure that all drains and gutters are free from dirt and debris. Make sure to chip away any ice covering drains.
- Excess snow on roofs that melts quickly can freeze in the eaves and cause ice dams where the melting snow seeps under the shingles. Remove snow using a roof rake or hire a roofing professional. Insulating the attic area to keep it cold can also reduce rapid melting and the risk of ice dams.
- Make sure to remove snow blocking roof vents.
- Do not climb on the roof to remove snow or unblock vents. When using a ladder, make sure some is there to hold it steady to prevent it from tipping or sliding.
- Don’t overestimate your abilities, the safest course is to do any clearance work from the ground using proper tools.
- Icicles, while pretty, can be an indicator of water drainage problems. They can also pose a hazard to anyone working below them, so knock them down before working under or near them.
- When the snow finally does start to melt, watch for unexpected flooding since the hard ground will not be able to absorb a lot of moisture.
- Because of fire hazards, never leave lighted candles or active fireplaces unattended.
- When using a space heater, do not place near young children, run cords under carpets or leave it unattended or operating while sleeping.
- If you leave home for an extended period of time, don’t turn off the heat. (This could result in frozen pipes that could burst and cause serious water damage.)
- Open sink and vanity cabinet doors so warm air can get to the pipes.
- Have someone check on the house twice a day to make sure there is no flooding or water intrusion, that pilot lights are lit, and that refrigerators and freezers are running properly.