Winters in Southern Maine are no joke. We face very real possibilities of not only freezing rain, sleet, and snow but also snow storms, blizzards, and below freezing temperatures. Protecting your home and loved ones from the elements is a high priority during the winter months. Whether you’re new to the area or a seasoned Mainer, you need to know how to protect your home from a winter storm.
Most of the damaging elements will be coming from the sky above, so let’s work from the top down.
Winterize your roof
- First, cut away any tree branches that could fall on the house and cause damage.
- Hire a contractor to check the stability of the roof, ensuring heavy snow or ice won’t cause it to collapse.
- Repair any roof leaks. With all the pressure that’ll be on your roof, even a minor leak can turn into something major.
- Clean out your gutters to prevent ice dams.
Check your windows
- Check shutters, siding, and any other external features to ensure they’re secure and will not fly off in the event of a storm.
- Caulk and weather strip doors and windows.
- Install storm windows if possible. If that’s not in the budget, cover windows with plastic.
- Insulate your attic floor. Doing this will serve a two-fold purpose: 1) it will keep the warmth inside the house, and 2) it will keep the attic cool. Keeping the attic cool is important, because if precipitation cannot melt on your roof, it cannot trickle down and cause ice dams.
- Preventing your pipes from bursting requires you to keep them warm. Winterize them by wrapping them in insulation sleeves or heat tape. Leave them dripping to keep the water flowing, not giving it a chance to stand still and freeze. Learn where the water valve is located so you can quickly shut off the water in the event of flooding.
- Inspect and clean your heating ducts and chimneys each year. Check the mortar on your fireplaces and chimneys to ensure they are structurally sound.
- Check your fire extinguisher and ensure everyone in the house knows where it’s located and how to use it. Using candles and fireplaces can make house fires a significant risk during the winter.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector. Improper ventilation is a silent threat.
Create an emergency kit
- Extra batteries
- Three-day supply of food and water
- First-aid kit
- Rock salt
- Snow shovel
- Heating fuel such as wood
- Clothes and blankets
- Family communication plan in case of separation
- Install apps: free apps from FEMA and the American Red Cross
You don’t want to be caught in the middle of a storm with no preparation. Putting in the work to prepare beforehand will certainly pay off when winter’s unpredictability rears its ugly head. Do you have any tips that aren’t on this list? Let us know in the comments below.