New Englanders are tough. Although we may complain from time to time about the weather, we are typically prepared for Mother Nature. During the winter, homeowners know about winterization, but should also take some actions to prepare their homes and family for the wild winter weather with some snow storm safety tips.
The worst snowstorms may knock out power for a few days, so many homeowners have backup generators to ensure their families stay warm.
Of course, emergency kits, such as the American Red Cross Survival Kit, which include non-perishable foods, are important safety precautions as storms strike. For more great information to prepare for the next snowstorm, then ready.gov provides some great details. As we all know:
“One of the primary concerns is the winter weather’s ability to knock out heat, power and communications services to your home or office, sometimes for days at a time. Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region.”
Our homes provide protection from the elements, but we still need to be diligent to keep our families safe during snowstorms.
Prepare those Pipes
During the winter, then a highly functioning furnace and hot water heater are vital to keeping our home and families warm. The pipes and vents that move air and water throughout the house are equally important.
1. Insulate Pipes
Many people look to insulate their pipes as part of the winterization process, but it is important to prepare the pipes for the worse case scenario with snowstorms approaching. To insulate pipes, then find a covering that protects your hand from the hot pipe and keeps the heat within the pipe.
If a pipe does burst, then know where the main water valve is located so you can shut off the water supply and call a pro to help.
2. Heat Pipes to Keep Water Flowing
In the event that pipes freeze, then it is important to warm them up so no further damage to your home occurs. There are a variety of heat sources that can get the job done.
“Use a hair dryer, heat lamp, electric heat tape, or a portable space heater to thaw frozen pipes that have not burst.”
Further, to help reduce the chance of pipes freezing, then they should be used continuously throughout the winter. Although it may seem like a waste, let water trickle from any faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces. The amount of water that will flow through the pipes is very small compared to a burst pipe.
Additionally, because water is so vital to safety, be sure to save some water for drinking, cooking and cleaning. Eating snow is a dangerous way to hydrate, and can lead to a case of hypothermia.
Healthy House Tips
Take precaution to prepare pipes for winter helps ensure the safety of the inside of our homes. There are also a few ways to keep the outside of our homes safe during storms as well.
3. De-Ice or Pay the Price
For those homeowners that need to shovel, then ice melt is almost a miracle worker. Finding ways to de-ice your driveway, steps and walkways is very important to keep your property safe. There are ice melt solutions in the store or you can make your own with basic household materials.
Many people associate de-icer solutions with breaking up ice on car windshield. While that is true, apply the same solution to your shovels to help prevent the snow from sticking.
For another easy DIY de-ice recipe, then simply combine rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle and you are on your way. Vinegar and water also works.
4. Keep Storm Drains Clear
When the weatherman predicts a snowstorm, then most people immediately think about stocking the shelves with the essentials. This is great, but homeowners should also think about something else – the storm drain. Afterall, the snow will eventually melt and need to go somewhere.
“If the drains become clogged, melted snow will have nowhere to go and water could travel underneath your home’s base and into your basement, causing flooding.”
In addition to keeping the storm drains clear, keep your entryway clear as well. It may seem futile, but providing a clear path to your front door helps reduce the amount of moisture that will eventually enter your house. This also reduces the amount of snow that will eventually melt near the foundation of your home.
5. Sump Pumps are Saviors
There is no way around it – there will be plenty of standing water around your basement following a snowstorm. To help prevent future problems, then test your sump pump.
Simply pour a few gallons of water into the sump pit to ensure the pump turns on. Diligent homeowners will test the pump every few months, but definitely consider this action before the season’s first storm.
If you don’t have a sump pump or your pump runs on electricity, then consider a battery powered backup. The snow will melt whether you have power or not, so a small investment may lead to large savings and reduced headaches down the road. For more information about sump pumps, then check out our Sump Pump Buying & Installation Guide.
Awesome Automobile Tips
Driving in the snow is pretty dangerous. However, it is part of the New England winter, so many people take precaution and the roads remain fairly safe. Like driving in the snow, it is always a good idea to proceed with caution.
6. Embrace Emergency Kits
Emergency kits should be in every car. The basics include:
- Blanket and/or Sleeping Bag
- Flashlight with Extra Batteries
- Flares and/or Reflective Triangles
- First Aid Kit
- Extra winter clothes (hats, scarfs, gloves)
- Non-Perishable Snacks (granola bars) and Bottled Water
The good thing about emergency kits is simple – they don’t go bad (maybe double check the extra batteries each year). They act a little like insurance, you don’t need them until you need them.
7. Subtle Safety Strategies
Emergency kits are great, but what about those snowstorms that develop during work hours? Here are a couple of ingenious ways to ensure you can get into your car and get home safely.
- Use Hand Sanitizer on Your Door Lock – the alcohol works to melt the ice that covers the lock (a match or lighter works as well)
- Apply Shaving Cream Inside your Windows – the active ingredients in shaving cream are similar to commercial de-foggers, so apply a layer and wipe it clean every so often during the winter.
- Keep Cat Litter in the Car – whether you have a cat or not, keep a bag in your car because it helps absorb moisture overnight and doubles as extra traction if you are stuck in some ice.
Winter is here, we are just waiting (patiently) for the standard snowstorm to strike. Luckily, there is still some time to ensure you have the proper safety gear to protect your home. The first snowstorm provides a picturesque landscape – however, that is quickly replaced by the reality of moving the snow somewhere. For any home safety concerns, remember that SolvIt is here to help.