This winter has been one for the record books. Just when we get through a "Polar Inversion" and record breaking cold, here comes ice and snow. While we cannot know when it will end, (spring is officially only 35 days away!), we can suggest some tips on how to deal with ice and snow and to protect your home!
Step One: Keep warm! No this is not just a dumb suggestion. ;-) If you are away from home in the winter, it is a good idea to leave the heat ON and keep the home at least at 65 degrees. This helps prevent pipes from freezing and flooding rooms. In the recent storms we have seen that happen all too often!
Step Two: Prune trees and clean gutters in the fall. (Yes. It may be to late for it this year, but PLEASE put it on your list for this next year! Storms weaken trees. The amount of branches that break and cause damage can be GREATLY reduced simply by pruning in the fall. Gutters are the same way. A clogged gutter that backs up with water and then turns to ice can equal major roof problems. Avoid that situation by cleaning out the gutters and making sure that they do not back up.
Step Three: Bring your ice scraper INSIDE your home. There is nothing more frustrating that going out to open your car door that has iced over and realizing that the ice scraper is tucked neatly in the trunk or in the interior of the car.
Step Four: Locate and stock up on the essentials. Make sure that you have food, water, blankets, shovels and anything else that you need to ride out at least 72 hours. Check all of your snow blowers or other yard equipment to make sure that it is in working order. Salt is ALWAYS cheaper in the summer time. Stock up with a couple of bags and you will save a BUNCH of money when winter approaches.
Step Five: Extra batteries for cell phones. The first thing to go in winter storms (especially ice storms) is the power. Make sure that you have an extra battery or two charged up for your cell phone. You will be glad that you did. Being able to communicate with others is essential and keeping the phone charged is crucial to riding out storms.
And finally: Make sure that you have a weather radio that is either battery operated or can be operate without AC power. One of the biggest threats during a storm like the ones we have had here in South Carolina is not being aware of local conditions, downed power lines, power outages and etc. Having a radio that allows you to be aware of these conditions can mean all the difference in the world.
Stay warm and safe!