New Homeowner? Tips to Weatherproof for Winter, Rain, and More
Rain, snow or shine, your home was built to weather it all. But when extreme weather hits, all bets are off. A small structural weak spot in your home can lead to giant repair bills after a heavy rainstorm or nasty winter blizzard.
So what can you do to protect your home from extreme weather? First, you need to have a good understanding of the different types of weather and how they affect your home. Then you need to stay on top of seasonal weather patterns and forecasts so you can prepare your home to handle even the most extreme weather.
The Two Ingredients of Extreme Weather
When we talk about extreme weather, we’re really talking about two different ingredients.
The first is temperature. Throughout the year, there’s a typical range of temperatures your home was built to withstand. But no home is invincible, and we’re sure you’ve seen firsthand how temperature can swing unpredictably. Steep drops in temperature in the winter can lead to a host of problems. In other places, summer heat waves give homeowners plenty of headaches.
The other big weather factor to keep an eye on is precipitation. In the warmer months this means rain (and sometimes, floods). Throughout the winter, snowstorms and blizzards are a constant threat to homes. And it’s not always an overabundance of precipitation that causes worries. Droughts are a serious problem in many parts of the country.
Always Be Looking Ahead
So what can you do to keep your home safe from all this nasty weather throughout the year?
There are some basic steps you should be taking as a homeowner throughout the year, with the changing of the seasons. These broad maintenance tasks help you avoid the sort of giant repair projects your less proactive neighbors might be facing.
But your seasonal upkeep routines aren’t enough. Stay on top of local weather forecasts. If an extreme weather event is on the horizon, there are extra steps you can take to keep your family, home and property even more safe.
Sometimes, no matter how prepared you are, extreme weather will win out in the end. After all, nature is a powerful force. Being prepared means preparing for the worst. If you don’t already have homeowners’ insurance, now might be a good time to look into coverage.
Weatherproofing for Freezing Winter Temperatures
Early in 2019, a polar vortex hammered the Midwest and Northeastern United States, breaking all-time records for low temperatures in towns and cities all over the country.
Homes in those regions are typically built with consideration for frigid winters, but extreme cold can still do some serious damage to even the most winterized homes.
Protect Your Plumbing System
The biggest problem area in your home during freezing season is your pipes. Since water expands when it becomes ice, having a plumbing system that isn’t properly winterized can lead to pipe bursts – an expensive problem to have and the last thing you want to deal with when you’re trying to stay warm inside your home.
Maintaining your plumbing system in cold climates is paramount to your home’s health. Run through this checklist to prepare your home for those winter chills.
- Start before winter hits by making sure your pipes are well insulated.
- Cover up or shut off the water to any outdoor faucets.
- Consider investing in a smart water monitoring system so you can easily keep tabs on your water pressure and temperature during the winter months. Flo will let you know right away if your water temperature isn’t right.
- Keep an eye on weather forecasts. If temperatures are expected to take a dive, make sure you’re prepared. Turning on your faucets just enough for a constant drip will help prevent pipe freezes. Make sure your heating system is in working order. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, have plenty of spare firewood handy.
As we learned during that polar vortex in early 2019, extreme cold can last a long time. Prepare yourself for a week or more of cold weather.
Preparing Your Home for Heavy Snow
Proper preparation for snow season starts in the fall. The part of your home most vulnerable to the snow is your roof. Get it inspected before winter starts. Look for loose or missing shingles. Make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and other debris that tends to build up in the fall. You don’t want snow and ice accumulating on your roof and in your gutters.
If there’s a snowstorm on the horizon, stock up on food and water and be prepared for a power outage. That means flashlights, batteries and candles. Invest in a good snow shovel and some high-quality, waterproof winter apparel so you’ll stay warm and dry for the inevitable snow removal.
Tips to Prepare for Heavy Rain
Heavy rain storms can do some damage to your home if you’re not prepared enough.
The main idea behind preparing your home for heavy rain is keeping the water out and quickly removing any water that actually gets in.
Home Maintenance in Early Spring
- Your roof is your home’s cornerstone of water protection. Most of the rain that falls is going to hit your roof. Keeping it in the best condition is key during rainy seasons.
- Just as you did before the winter, you want to make sure your roof is in good shape and your gutters are clear. Double check the joints of your gutter system and make sure water flows smoothly through them and comes out where it’s supposed to.
- Inspect your home’s siding. Heavy rain storms usually bring some heavy winds, too. Serious gusts of wind can cause that rain to pummel your walls as well as your roof. Do a thorough perimeter check and seal up any leaks or cracks with caulk or a paint-on seal. If your home is on the older side you might want to consider getting a fresh coat of paint on it too.
- If you have a basement, getting a sump pump installed can save you from trouble down the road. Sump pumps are installed under the floor in your basement or crawlspace. If the space is ever flooded, the sump pump will extract the water and direct it outside.
Weatherproofing Before a Big Storm
If a big, nasty storm is looming on the forecast, there’s some short-term prep work you can do. Much like preparing for a blizzard, make sure you have all the necessities in the event of a power outage.
Secure any lawn furniture or equipment by either bringing it inside or covering it with waterproof tarps. Just make sure the tarps are weighed down by something (remember, heavy rains often come with heavy winds).
You can use rain to your benefit and save a little cash on your utility bill. If rain’s in the forecast, don’t waste water by running your sprinklers.
Preparing Your Home For Heatwaves and Droughts
Once you get into the dog days of summer, you’ve got to start thinking about extreme heat. While not quite as serious as rainstorms, blizzards and arctic vortexes, heatwaves and droughts can take their toll on your home, your lawn and your energy bills.
Here’s our summertime checklist:
- Before it starts getting too hot, check your home’s air conditioning system and make sure it’s in working order.
- Clean or replace your a/c units filters.
- If you use window a/c units, make sure they are properly sealed so you don’t lose any cool air.
- Invest in reflective window covers to keep the sun’s rays outside.
- If you live in a place prone to periodic droughts, you could collect and store rainwater to keep your landscape healthy during dry spells.
- If you live in a really dry climate, landscape your property with plants and trees that are suited for lower levels of rainfall.
Every season brings new challenges and projects for homeowners. How do you prepare your home for extreme weather?