The Big Move: Snow and Ice Can be Your Enemy

The dangers of winter can have a serious effect on your home.

It hasn’t snowed yet this year, but it is likely that it will. Here are some tips to prevent ice and snow from causing harm to your home or to your family and your guests.

Ice Dams

What exactly is an ice dam?

When your roof and gutters are covered with snow and you see icicles hanging, you might become a victim of ice dams.

Ice can form between your gutter and the eaves of your home, causing considerable damage. It can cause your gutters to fall off — and when they come off, your shingles can too. This can lead to water coming into your home.

The wet plaster or plasterboard can make the paint peel or bubble, your ceiling can sag around the edges, and if it’s really bad, it can affect your floorboards.

You might also have soggy insulation behind all this mess, which can create mold. And after Hurricane Sandy, we are all too aware of the hazards of mold and the difficulty of treating it.

If your roof has a ridge vent, it is very likely you won’t have this problem. You can also make sure that your attic floor is insulated. Another way to stop ice dams before they start is to make sure the flashing around your chimneys is in place and not cracked.

Be Prepared for a Blizzard

A storm kit is something that we should all have in our homes. Keep plenty of batteries around, but you should also consider a hand-crank radio and lantern. I’ve even seen hand crank radios that also have a cell phone charger — that way you don’t need to sit in your car in the freezing cold charging your cell.

If you have a sump pump in your basement, you might want to consider a battery-operated sump pump. I have no idea how long the battery would last. You may even consider a gas generator. If that is the case, do not run it in your house; keep it outside. Also keep a 5-gallon gas can so you can store the gas for your generator.

Waterproof, insulated gloves are essential for digging out of snow, as well as a good, light-weight shovel. They make great plastic ones — no need for the old heavy metal shovel of yesteryear.

You can also buy yourself a lock de-icer. If the lock to your home or your car is frozen, this will be a life saver.

Last but not least, make sure your driveway, the path to your home, the outdoor steps and all of the sidewalk are shoveled and de-iced with either sand or salt. You don’t want injured guests (including house hunters if your home is on the market) and family due to slip-and-falls.

And let’s all hope for not-too-cold and not-too-snowy winter.

As always, feel free to send me any questions and I’ll address them in my next column.

Cathy Vingelli, Licensed Realtor

Hal Knopf Realty



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