Winter is officially here but is your home ready for it? According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, winter storms can be dangerous because most of the safety risks they pose are indirect. While these factors result from the storm, they may be delayed rather than immediate and are not always obvious.
For example, ice on roads may contribute to vehicle accidents and shoveling snow can sometimes lead to heart attacks in those already at risk. Homeowners have an additional set of concerns to add to these.
Wind and snow can damage trees and power or phone lines, but in most cases this will be inconvenient rather than dangerous. If someone should be injured or otherwise need medical attention after such damage, however, it could interfere with calling for or receiving help.
Snow and especially ice on driveways and sidewalks can pose dangers, either to people personally walking on slippery surfaces or cars trying to drive on them. When clearing snow and ice, homeowners should be careful to ensure they stay warm, and go inside to take breaks if necessary. While the risk varies depending on geographical location and weather patterns, hypothermia and frostbite can cause serious illness and injury or even death in the wrong circumstances, so caution is
When inside, however, there are still hazards that can reach homeowners during the season. Among the worst is bursting pipes, since they can lead to flooding that damages a home structurally in ways that are difficult and time-consuming to repair. Emptying or insulating plumbing can prevent this in many cases. Another problem is snow on roofs, which can be heavy enough to break the structure. This is expensive to repair. These types of damage can make it attractive to move out, but will generally make it impossible to sell a home until repairs are concluded.
Home repair contractors
To deal with these and other problems, professional assistance is best. One contractor told U.S. News and World Report the most common type of damage in his experience is on the roof. This may result from broken or missing shingles and be impossible to see at a glance, since the damage is in the form of small gaps that allow water from melting ice and snow to seep into the home.
Experts note that the time pressure when dealing with such home damages can prevent homeowners from shopping around for contractors and getting competing bids, especially since storm conditions tend to mean that the best contractors get a lot of work. Because of this, it is recommended that homeowners hire a professional to check pipes, heating and cooling systems and other relevant aspects of the home before severe weather strikes. This also gives them a chance to develop a relationship with a contractor and ensure he or she is punctual.
Image via Flickr User Missnairne