By: Ed Del Grande
This time of year can bring about a whole host of severe weather events. With recent storms like Sandy, we’re reminded of the importance to plan ahead and prepare our home and family the best we can. With that said, here are 5 tips you can do to prepare your home for the winter weather season:
1. Have nearby trees and branches trimmed. Work with a licensed and insured professional to scout the area around your home and trim away any trees and branches that can be a potential hazard to your property and safety. Tree branches that snap due to heavy snow can block your driveway and cause damage to your home and utility lines.
2. Clean out your gutters. Clogged gutters may cause ice dams to form on your roof. Severe ice dams may direct the water trying to drain off your roof under the shingles causing water to drip into your home. Stay off ladders, there are many long extension tools and attachments on the market that may help you complete this job without climbing ladders.
3. Have your sump pump system inspected. Your sump pump is usually the last line of defense to protect your basement from flooding. A licensed and insured master plumber can check to see if the pump components are operating correctly, if the drains are clear and properly installed, and if the pump is powerful enough to do the job.
4. Have your heating system inspected. Just like the sump system, your heating system is another home component that needs to be in tip-top shape for the winter. Your licensed and insured heating technician should not only check the operation of your furnace or boiler, but they should also check your chimney and/or fuel piping as well.
5. Have a backup plan for long power outages. Backup plans can include: A backpack or bucket filled with the essentials to help you get through an outage, along with a portable or standby generator system. For my own home, I have a standby generator system that’s permanently installed, runs on propane (other models can run on natural gas), turns on automatically, and can keep all the important systems in my home, including the sump pump, heat and electronics, operating during a short or long power outage.
Bottom line: As a home improvement expert, you learn quickly that if you invest in the proper backup equipment, you’ll have the confidence you need in your home to help you make it through a big storm. I want that same confidence in my home and yours.
Ed Del Grande is a three-time Master Plumber, GBCI LEED green associate, and contractor.