Protecting yourself from your home
Safe, Secure, and at peace. This is what it feels like to be in your home, at night, even alone or with the whole family. This is your place and nobody and nothing can harm you within it. While it would be nice if it were completely true, the fact is though that we all feel that way about our homes. When we are home we feel that nothing bad can happen, even though we know deep down that there are dangers out there that are very real in the world. It’s not generally the dangers that we know about that do us harm in our homes, rather the ones that we don’t think about or put any thought into. Your very home itself could be a danger, especially in the winter months when everything is at its coldest. Here is a list of things to check not only before winter hits you, but during those cold months as well in order for you and your family to be at its safest.
During the cold month’s weather turns bad, from rain to hail, to snow and worse. The night the weather turns cold enough to freeze and make snow there could be moisture in the air that falls off your roof and your gutters. As it freezes this dripping water becomes ice cycles. They look pretty, but if they break and fall on you, it could hurt. Injuries could be as little as a bump or bruise to as severe as a puncture. It’s best to take care of ice cycles before they get too big, or at least before the snow starts to melt. The simple thing to do is to break them off, especially in areas along your house were people might walk under them. This helps prevent a danger to anyone coming and going to the house.
As discussed before your roof tends to take the brunt of the attacks of bad weather. Snow by itself can do little harm to your roof, the same as rain. Hail on the other hand can break tiles, or even put a hole in the roof which could create bigger problems if not taken care of. Snow just needs to be scooped off the roof if it accumulates in order to prevent the roof from caving in. It can be hazardous to do this, but a good shovel and ladder will generally do the trick. You can ice the roof to prevent a new snowfall from sticking, but all this does is melt the snow which can then turn into ice cycles.
The sidewalk and even the pathways leading up to the house will get slippery when they are wet, and even more slippery when they are frozen. Keep them shoveled off so you can get to and from your house, putting the excess snow to either side, essentially digging your own private tunnel. Never water them before a freeze, but be careful of using salt or a similar product on the sidewalk as it could kill any soil there for years to come.
If you don’t have a fire place to keep warm you are going to be using a heater. Many of these are electric while there are still a few out there that are oil based. All of them can be a danger if you don’t know how to use them properly. A space heater will heat up a small room, the larger the heater the bigger the room. However, if shopping for a heater make sure it has a temperature control, an automatic shut off feature if it tilts, and can run on the power outlets in your home. Don’t place these space heaters near clothing, a person, drapes or curtains or anything else that could be flammable. Give them at least 3 feet all around it, so don’t place them up against the wall either. Be sure the outlet can support the heater as well, so don’t plug a lot of items in the same outlet as the heater.
Windows are not always the problem in a house, but rather how much of the cold they can keep out of the house. If they are sealed properly they should do a great job of this. If not, you might have to hire someone to seal them properly or take the poor man’s way out. (Roll up some towels along the bottom or side of the window depending on how it opens, and place them along the edges.) It might seem silly but it will keep the heat in the house and the cold out of it. If you live in an area that gets hail frequently, you might want to have shutters placed on the windows to keep the glass from breaking.
Power Outlets that are low to the ground
Outdoor outlets that run along the outside of the house are rare, but some people have them for a variety of reasons. When the cold weather is here so being the holidays and many people celebrate by decorating their homes with a lot of lights. Rainy weather can short out these outlets if they are left unprotected. Tape the unused portions shut with electric tape or duct tape or even use a baby blocker plug to place in the outlet or cord where it is not in use. This prevents a short in the system which could be un-repairable if you live out of the city, at least until the weather clears up.
On the inside of the house you want to keep your pipes from freezing or you could find yourself with little or no running water. Most houses built within the last twenty years have good insulation around all the pipes. However, if your home is older or the piping insulation is not working, has been chewed or damaged or simply isn’t working your pipes could freezes. The solution is simple and all it takes is to leave the faucet on at night, by having it slowly drip. It could still freeze part of the pipes but there will be some water that is able to go through.