We've all been there—the weatherman says that a storm is coming and your heart sinks a bit. As a homeowner, times of bad weather can be particularly worrisome. Your house is important, and protecting it will always be in the back of your mind, but there are steps you can take to eliminate that sinking feeling you've come to associate with times of less-than-stellar weather.
Read on for five things you can do to protect your home from the elements.
1. Review Your Roof
Having a damaged roof in the midst of inclement weather is a recipe for disaster. Whether your roof is old, has been neglected or was damaged by things outside your control (such as a hail storm or gale-force winds), it's important to make sure it's up to the task of protecting your home before the forecast calls for potentially harmful weather. Ice dams are a common roof problem that homeowners see during the winter months. Ice dams build up on the edge of your roof, damage the shingles and can cause your roof to leak. Check out this great video from This Old House on how to treat and prevent ice dams on your roof.
2. Clean Your Yard
When wind speeds start to pick up, anything that's left in your yard can become a projectile with the potential to seriously damage your siding, your roof or your windows. If you're anticipating serious weather conditions, taking the time to stow any furniture, equipment or children's toys—especially trampolines—can save you hundreds of dollars in damages.
3. Insulate Your Pipes
A frozen clog in your sump pump pipe can easily lead to thousands of dollars in flooding damage if left unchecked. During the spring season, as the weather alternates back and forth from below freezing to above freezing, water can thaw and freeze in your sump pump pipe that blocks the pipe and prevents it from being able to pump water out of your basement. The resulting flooded basement can mean needing to replace the carpet and drywall, which can add up quickly. At the very least, you'll need to invest in a quality dehumidifier and a few box fans to dry up your damp carpet. To stop this type of headache before it starts, invest in some quality pipe insulation for any pipe that is at risk of freezing. Here's another great video from This Old House demonstrating how you can dodge frozen and burst pipes in your home:
4. Check Your Heat
It's important to check to make sure that your heat is working before winter weather season rolls in. Winter temperatures can set in fast, and going a few days without heat when the thermometer is well below freezing can make your home practically unbearable. One common cause for a faltering furnace is a filter that needs replacing. Before you call in a specialist for a costly repair, check to ensure that you don't simply need to replace an old, dirty furnace filter. As a general rule, furnace filters should be changed every two to three months or so.
5. Clear Your Gutters
Most bad weather involves precipitation in some way, shape or form. If you've got cluttered gutters, odds are good that water is not being properly routed away from you house—which opens your home up to all sorts of other issues. If your gutters are failing to drain and overflowing, that water is being dumped near your house's foundation, where it could pool and eventually leak into your basement. Similarly, a backed-up gutter can allow water to leak through your roof and into your attic.