Homeownership comes with a lot of responsibilities – one of which is making sure your home and family are protected from the danger of the changing seasons. Winter brings its own set of dangers, so it’s important to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect your home.
8 Winter Dangers For Homeowners
1) Frozen pipes
One of the most common problems in winter is frozen pipes. Frozen pipes can lead to costly repairs if they burst. To prevent this, make sure all exposed pipes are properly insulated. Bleed and turn off outside water bibs. And finally, if you’re going away on vacation, leave the heat on in your home and open cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around plumbing fixtures.
2) Ice dams
Although Maryland may experience milder winters than the more northern states, ice dams can still be a problem. In freezing temperatures, ice dams can form on your roof when heat escapes from your attic and melts the snow on your roof. This melted water can refreeze, forming a dam that prevents melting snow from draining off your roof. Ice dams can cause serious damage to your roof and should be removed as soon as possible.
3) Snow load
The weight of heavy snowfall can damage roofs, so it’s important to remove any accumulation of snow as soon as possible. If you have a lot of trees on your property, make sure to clear away any broken branches that could fall and cause damage during a storm. It is important that you have any roofing damage repaired before winter comes.
4) Chimney fires
If you have a fireplace, wood stove, or pellet stove it’s important to have your chimney cleaned and inspected annually to prevent fires. Creosote, a byproduct of burning wood, can build up in your chimney and ignite if it’s not removed. There are 25,000 chimney fires in the US each year and because the fire often travels behind the walls of your home, they are extremely dangerous.
5) Carbon monoxide poisoning
Another hazard associated with fireplaces, gas or oil furnaces, and gas or oil water heaters is carbon monoxide poisoning. This can occur when your fireplace or chimney system is not properly ventilated and carbon monoxide builds up in your home. Install a carbon monoxide detector near your fireplace and make sure to open the flue when using it. Having your fireplace inspected regularly can help protect you as well.
6) Slip and falls
With ice and snow on the ground, there’s an increased risk of slips and falls in the winter. This can be dangerous to your family as well as visitors. Keep your walkways and driveway clear of any snow or ice, and use salt or sand to provide traction. If you have stairs leading to your front door, make sure they’re also clear and free of any slippery buildup.
7) Winter storms
Severe winter storms can cause power outages, damage to your home, and injuries. Be prepared for storms by stocking up on supplies like non-perishable food, water, and batteries. Have a plan in place for how you’ll stay warm if your power goes out, and know where to go if you need to evacuate your home. After the power grid failed in Texas last winter, we have seen a lot of families installing wood-burning stoves just in case we experience the same problem in Maryland. You can learn more about wood-burning stoves on our website
Unfortunately, the holiday season is also peak time for burglaries. Make sure your home is secure by locking all doors and windows, setting up a security system, and motion-activated lights. If you’re going away for an extended period of time, have a trusted friend or neighbor keep an eye on your property.
By taking some simple precautions, you can protect your home and family from the dangers of winter. Stay safe this season!