Winter Preparation & Restoration
As a Texan, when I think about winter storm damage restoration services, I can’t help but think back to mid-February 2021. The winter outbreak that occurred that month was nicknamed as “Snowmaggedon”, but the event’s official name was Winter Storm Uri. That week not only brought snow, sleet and freezing rain to Texas, but also power outages and winter damage. As a Texan, Winter Storm Uri was devastating.
Personally, my family learned a lot of valuable lessons, and we will be prepared should an event of this extreme occur again. Luckily, our home was not damaged due to the winter storm, but that can’t be said for countless of our friends and relatives.
Watch for Common Winter Storm Damages
Winter storms can cause damage to your residential property, especially if you don’t take the time to safeguard your home for winter weather. Familiarizing yourself with some of the most common causes of winter storm damage can help protect your house. If you live in areas prone to hurricanes or tornadoes, you know it is critical to be prepared for a disaster. Preparing for the winter months should be no different because this season can cause disasters as well.
The most common winter storm damages occur from:
As temperatures fall, the water running through the pipes inside your house get colder. When water inside the pipes start freezing, it causes the water to expand – creating a pressure which can eventually lead to the pipe cracking or leaking.
In 2022, Texas was the top state for frozen pipe and winter water damages, followed by New York. That shows that the need for winter storm damage restoration services wasn’t just isolated to the Northeast part of the country, as you would typically guess.
In Texas, we aren’t accustomed to winter storms bringing lots of snow – but we are accustomed to winter storms bringing ice. Ice dams occur when the water from melting snow freezes into ice at the edge of your home’s roofline. If you do not remove the snow properly, the ice that develops may grow and prevent water from melting snow from draining off of your roof. When this water is not able to drain, it can cause back-ups under roof shingles and push its way into your house.
Winter storm damage prevention can start with making sure your gutters are clean and clear. When typical debris from leaves, sticks and dirt build-up combine with ice or snow, drains and gutters can easily become clogged or blocked. This creates a back-up and the icy water can not easily be carried off your roof. This pressure can cause leaks, sagging or collapsing in your roof.
Ways To Start Preparing For A Winter Storm
Winter storms can bring freezing rain, ice, snow, high winds, or a combination of these conditions. They can cause power outages that last for days, make roads and walkways very dangerous, and can affect community services.
The three-month stretch from December through February typically features the coldest temperatures of the year in many locations across the nation. So, don’t hesitate…now is the time to put a plan in place to help you manage the potential impact of a winter storm and keep you, your family and employees safe.
Winterize Your Home’s Interior
Winter weather brings unique challenges, such as strong winds, extreme cold, snow, ice and even blizzards. If you’ve ever lived in an apartment in a city like Chicago or perhaps smaller Milwaukee, you know how this feels. Protecting the inside of your home against these elements are crucial in preventing damage caused by winter weather. Here are a few tips that can help to protect your home against costly repairs.
- Protect your pipes. Science tells us that water expands as it freezes. As a result, when the water left inside your pipes freeze, cracks can occur and the pipes may burst. Burst pipes have the potential to create a serious water damage situation, and the repairs can be extremely costly. Remember to drain outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems to prevent those pipes from freezing. Also, insulate water pipes that run-through unheated areas of your home. Lastly, allow indoor faucets to drip – moving water is less likely to freeze.
- Inspect your fireplace and chimney. There’s nothing like the warmth of a cozy fire on a cold winter day…but make sure your fireplace and chimney are clean before lighting that match. A dirty chimney and fireplace are serious fire hazards that can result in devastating damages to your home. The National Fire Protection Association suggests that you should have your chimney swept once a year to remove dangerous soot and debris. Protect your home by contacting a local professional in your area to have your chimney inspected and cleaned.
Build An Emergency Kit
Take the time now to collect the emergency supplies you would need if the power was out, water supplies were cut off, and grocery stores were not open. You can build your supplies over time by adding a few items as your budget allows. Basic emergency supplies should include the following, most of which you probably already have in your home.
Ensure you have at least 1 gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days. Store a longer than 3-day supply of water, if possible. An average person needs to drink about ¾ of a gallon of fluid daily. Individual needs vary depending on age, gender, health, level of activity, food choices, and climate. You may also need stored water for food preparation.
Store at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food for members of your household, including pets. Consider special dietary needs (like infant formula). Include a non-electric can opener for canned good.
Flashlight, Radio & Cell Phone Charger
You will need to be able to charge these items without electricity. Your flashlight and radio should be either hand-cranked or battery-powered, and stored with extra batteries. Your cell phone charger should be hand-crank, solar, or able to be charged from a car outlet.
Include first aid kit, prescription and non-prescription/over-the-counter medications, and medical supplies.
Pack supplies for sanitation, such as hand sanitizer, towelettes, paper products, and plastic bags, for use when water resources are limited.
Include battery backup power for power-dependent mobility devices, oxygen, and other assistive technology needs.
Clothing & Blankets
Ensure you have clothing with long sleeves and long pants, thick-soled shoes. It is smart to have a sleeping bag or a warm blanket for each person in your household.
Include a whistle to signal for help.
Make A Communications Plan
Having the right supplies, you need and a plan to connect with family members or employees are the first steps toward surviving a winter storm, as well as any other disaster. Be sure to get your kids involved in the planning process so they feel comfortable should any disaster arise.
- Who to call.
- Where to meet.
- What to pack.
Winter Storm Damage: What to Do Next
Should your home need winter storm damage restoration services, the first step should be to call your insurance agent. The next phone call should be to a professional restoration company that has the knowledge and equipment to address winter damage.
We Can Restore Your Property After a Damaging Storm
Since 1948, our teams have helped thousands of homeowners restore, rebuild and recover their property after winter storm damage. With locations across the nation, we stand ready to assist with winter storm damage restoration.