Suffering through a winter storm is not just about closing the shutters while having shovels and buckets on hand. It’s also about fixing potential winter or blizzard damage to your home and possibly preventing it from happening at all.
Here are some cost-saving tips you can bank on when winter’s wrath leaves you damaged.
1. Look for Nearby Trees
Trees are a leading cause of incidental home damage during a storm. Limbs are torn by gusting winds and driven onto roofs and into siding. Inspect surrounding or neighboring trees in the fall. Be careful, though. Limbing or felling trees can be dangerous. Significant tree service is best left to a professional.
2. Examine Your Roof
Roofs are the most vulnerable part of a home during a harsh winter storm. Roof areas account for half of most homes exposed areas and they can also be one of the most expensive components to repair. Examining and making immediate repairs to your roof right after a storm can save thousands of dollars in collateral damage from leaks and ingression water. Be cautious about going up on your roof after a storm. Standing back with a good pair of binoculars lets you closely inspect for damage then decide if you need a roofer.
3. Check Your Ventilation
Ventilation openings in your home are easily damaged in a winter storm. Fireplace and chimney flues should be checked for blockage before finding out after lighting a fire. HVAC intakes and exhausts are easily clogged by blown leaves or icy buildup. Have a friend or family member watch each opening while you operate the furnace, fireplace or HVAC device. Any blockage will quickly be found at either end when air movement backs up. This easily prevents dangerous backflow of contaminants and lets you get right on top of removing obstructions.
4. Beware of “Storm-Chasers”
After every winter storm, there’s always people who go door-to-door and offer unsolicited repairs for attractive prices. Some of these may be shady characters after a quick buck who will leave you with shoddy work or shocking extras. Protect yourself by making sure they’re licensed, insured with workers compensation and general liability, and always get quotes and conditions in writing.
5. Take Winter Water Damage Seriously
Wind and water go hand in hand and one can do as much damage as the other. The big difference is that wind usually stays outside while water flows in and can often do far more serious damage. Deal with water damage immediately. Stop the source, protect valuables including people and pets, then begin drainage and drying. Make sure you contact your insurance company immediately and always consider hiring a water damage restoration company.