|For most of the United States, winter equals cold weather. Even in areas with mild climates, a cold snap is not unheard of. However, in areas with more traditional winter conditions, prolonged periods of cold are likely to hit. Though hard freezes aren’t something most people think of as dangerous (because they are not something you can see or hear) they can do a lot of harm to your home in the wrong situation.
To stabilize your home against the threat of heavy cold periods, there are quite a few safety precautions to keep in mind. The better prepared you are, the less of a risk of damage you will face.
How Cold Weather Affects Homes
Your home is the place you go to be protected from the cold. It makes sense, therefore, that it is going to be durable when faced with freezing temperatures. However, nothing is perfect, and even your home’s natural insulation will begin to wear out over time. You might face damage threats like:
- Cracks in your foundations caused by shifts in the ground as freezes and thaws occur.
- Damage to your roof from high winds, heavy snow accumulation or similar weather.
- The risk of burst pipes within poorly insulated plumbing.
- Damage to your HVAC or electrical system caused by heavy usage.
- Fire risks that arise from using space heaters, furnaces or fireplaces.
Of course, some of these damages are simply related to normal wear & tear. In those situations, your homeowners insurance won’t be able to cover the cost of the damage. However, when sudden damage like a fire or partial roof collapse occurs, your plan might be able to step in. All the same, it is always better to plan ahead to protect your home from the effects of freezes.
How to Prepare for Freezes
With a few simple steps, you will be able to get your home ready for the effects that cold weather might bring:
Clean debris off your roof and clean out your gutters. This will make it easier for any moisture to run off the home and prevent debris accumulation.
Make sure your water lines are not damaged. If you have exposed pipes, then wrap them, or keep a small stream of water dripping in them to prevent them from freezing.
Keep an eye on your energy usage. If you use too much heat or electricity during cold periods, then you could overburden your system.
If you use your fireplace or space heaters, never leave them unattended or place flammable objects near them. Use protective screens as necessary.
It’s not easy to prevent every type of damage that a freeze might do to your home, so you should have homeowners insurance to help you out. However, there’s no excuse to not take the appropriate precautions to begin with. It might save you a lot of money in the end.