Just when it seemed like Old Man Winter would be a lamb instead of a lion this year, 73 million people across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast are on high alert as a massive snowstorm bears down on them. Some areas are being threatened with more than two feet of the white stuff. For your clients who are in the path of the blizzard, here are some winter-proofing tips to protect homes from the heavy snow.
Shut off faucets outside. Unhook hoses, shut off inside valves, and be sure to run outdoor faucets to drain any excess water that may be lingering. Pipes leading to outdoor faucets as well as hoses can be vulnerable to damage when temperatures drop. For added protection, cover your spigot and pipes with a towel to help insulate them, Adam Webster, CEO of Rocky Mountain Restoration, told The Washington Post.
Protect your water pipes. If your pipes are at risk of bursting from the cold air, keep the cabinet doors beneath sinks open so warm air from inside your home can get to them. You can also use a blow dryer to warm up exposed pipes or increase your thermostat slightly more than usual, plumbers suggest.
Check that your carbon monoxide detectors are working. Items that use combustion to produce heat — including gas appliances and wood-burning fireplaces — can produce carbon monoxide, and they need to be properly vented to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Double check to see if your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are all working.
Make sure your gutters are clean. Rain gutters should be clear of leaves; ice dams can form during winter storms and flood the home, says J.B Sassano, president of Mr. Handyman.
Keep snow away from outside drains and vents. When outside vents get blocked with snow, the indoor heating system can actually stop working.
Have salt on hand. Cut down on your shoveling: "Put down salt and/or sand on outside walkways a couple hours before the expected snowstorm," says Adam Webster, CEO of Rocky Mountain Restoration. (Note: Buy coarse sand; play sand won't work.)