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Winter is coming and the weather is difficult to predict. Use these tips to help protect your home from the costly damage winter storms can bring.
Take care of your roof
- Keep your gutters clear. This keeps ice from accumulating and backing up under the shingles.
- Trim trees year-round so branches don’t fall on your house.
- Worn-out, missing or damaged siding and roof flashing can let water and ice into your home. Be vigilant and replace them.
- If your chimney is leaning or the mortar has seen better days, get it repaired.
Prevent ice dams
- Eliminate heat sources under the roof, such as lights and heaters in the attic, that can contribute to thawing.
- Keep the attic cool and ventilated to stop or slow the refreezing cycle.
- Consult a roofing professional to remove snow or standing water before an ice dam can form.
- Invest in a roof rake, a tool that allows you to stand on the ground and safely brush snow off the roof.
- Avoid trying to chip any ice dams off your roof, as you could damage the roof. Ask a roof specialist for help instead.
- Talk with your roof specialist about sealing the roof deck with a moisture barrier.
Prevent water damage
- Ventilate the attic and insulate the attic floor to stop warm air in the house from melting snow and ice on the roof.
- Wrap exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or 2 inches of Underwriters Laboratories (UL)-listed heat tape.
- Caulk cracks and holes in the home’s outer walls and foundation. Holes left by cable installation can also leave pipes exposed.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to let warm air circulate around pipes.
- Trickle water from faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces.
- Locate the home’s main water valve — typically in the basement or outside near the curb — so you can turn water off quickly if a pipe does burst.
- If you leave the house unoccupied for an extended period, shut off the water and have a professional drain the system. Turn the heat down, but don’t turn it off.
Clear surfaces where you walk or drive
- Keep walkways, steps and driveways clear of snow and ice.
- Treat these areas with rock salt or de-icing products.
For more information on ways to protect your home, visit USAA.com/HomeSafety.
Safety guidelines are not intended to be all inclusive, but are provided for your consideration. Please use your own judgment to determine what safety features/procedures should be used in each unique situation.
USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its affiliates. – (BPT)
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