When the snowstorm howls and the drifts pile high, your home becomes your ultimate sanctuary. But winter weather can be a brutal adversary, testing your home’s resilience and leaving damage in its wake. Preparing for a snowstorm and staying vigilant throughout is key to protecting your investment and maintaining peace of mind during the long winter siege.


Before the Blizzard Strikes

  • Roof and Gutters: Your First Line of Defense: Inspect your roof for loose shingles or tiles. Repair or replace them to prevent leaks during heavy snowfall. Clear your gutters and downspouts of debris. Clogged gutters can lead to ice dams, forcing water back underneath your shingles and causing leaks or roof damage.
  • A Trim for the Trees: Survey trees near your home. Remove dead or weak branches that could break under snowfall and damage your roof or power lines.
  • Insulate and Seal: Enemy #1 – Heat Loss: Add insulation to attics, crawl spaces, and around pipes. Seal cracks and gaps around windows and doors with weatherstripping or caulk to keep out chilly drafts and prevent expensive heat loss.
  • Generator Power: Your Backup Plan: If you live in an area prone to outages, consider a standby generator to keep essential appliances and lights running. Have it professionally installed and learn safe operating procedures.

When the Storm Rages

  • Monitor the Snow Load: Pay attention to the amount of snow accumulating on your roof. If it seems excessive or you hear creaking sounds, use a roof rake (from the safety of the ground) to remove some of the snow. Take precautions to prevent falls as roofs can become very slippery.
  • Keep the Paths Clear: Shovel snow away from foundations, doors, and walkways to prevent ice buildup and water damage. Use ice-melting salt sparingly, as it can harm your pets and landscaping.
  • The Frozen Pipes Threat: Leave a slow drip from faucets connected to pipes running along exterior walls. Open cabinets under sinks to allow warm air to circulate around pipes. If a pipe does freeze, turn off the water and thaw it carefully using a hairdryer or warm towels – NEVER open flames.
  • Safe Indoor Heating: If using space heaters, make sure they are placed far from flammables and on a flat surface. Never use a stove or oven for home heating. Ensure fireplaces have screens, and extinguish and clean ashes regularly. Beware of carbon monoxide buildup – keep detectors working and windows slightly open for ventilation if it’s safe to do so.

Weathering the Aftermath

  • Assess the Damage: Once the storm passes, carefully inspect your home’s exterior. Look for damaged roofing, siding, broken windows, or downed limbs. Take photos for insurance claims, if necessary.
  • The Ice Dam Battle: Ice dams, ridges of ice along your roof’s edge, can linger long after a storm. To remove them, hire a professional with the right equipment; attempting it yourself can lead to injuries and further damage.
  • Prepare for the Melt: Ensure storm drains around your home are clear for the inevitable snowmelt. Direct runoff away from your foundation if possible.

Extra Tips for Staying Cozy and Connected

  • Stock the Winter Arsenal: Have a supply of food, water, medications, pet essentials, batteries, and a first-aid kit. A charged power bank can keep your phone alive during an outage.
  • Neighbors Helping Neighbors: Check on elderly or vulnerable neighbors, especially during power outages or extreme weather.

Winter storms can be unpredictable, but a well-prepared home weathers them with greater ease. By following these tips, you’ll transform your home into a haven that will shield you throughout the snowy season and emerge stronger come springtime.