Toronto has already been hit with some big snow and ice storms this year! We still have a few more months of winter left and it doesn't seem like Mother Nature has any plans to let up. We now know what she is capable of.
It's no secret that heavy snow, ice and high winds can have a less-than-positive impact on your home and family. To help protect your house, avoid potentially expensive damage and keep your family safe, here are 5 things you can do today to make a big difference the next time Snowmageddon or Jack Frost roll through!
1. Keep your pipes warm:
Bursting pipes due to extreme cold temperatures can be the most expensive - and common - winter damage. Even though you might feel toasty and warm, the pipes in your attic or basement can freeze quite easily.
How to avoid this damage:Wrap vulnerable pipes in insulation that can be found at your local hardware store or Canadian Tire to keep them warm. Also, from time to time, turn on the faucets that you don't use often to keep the water flowing.
2. Protect what's protecting you: Big storms can dump a lot of snow on your roof. As the snow accumulates, it can become too heavy to support - especially for flat roofs or new additions.
How to avoid damage: Invest in a roof rake with a long handle so you can remove packed snow from the safety of the ground. Never climb on top of your roof - it can be extremely dangerous. We all know what happened to Clark Griswold. Please, always put safety first!
3. Eliminate carbon-monoxide dangers: To battle winter's frigid weather, we crank up our heaters, furnaces and fireplaces. While these are easy ways to stay warm, improper ventilation can push carbon-monoxide levels beyond the safe zone.
How to stay safe: A simple and effective way to ensure you're not putting yourself and your family at risk is to install carbon-monoxide detectors on each floor of your home. They aren't overly expensive and installation can be a breeze. Most importantly, it gives you peace of mind as you make your home feel like a Caribbean hot spot.
4. Invest in more power: Snow and ice storms can cause major power outages - most of us know this all too well. Besides being inconvenient, it can have an impact on your home's well-being and your family's safety.
How to stay safe: I suggest investing in a portable generator that can provide enough power to heat your home, keep appliances running and maybe even qualify you for a discount on your homeowners insurance. They sell them at Costco and RONA - and trust me, they're worth the investment. It's a safety net you'll be thankful for.
5. The catch-all emergency kit: Like we saw during the recent ice storm in Toronto, families can be without power for days, even weeks and be stranded in their homes. Having an emergency kit on hand to battle the elements is more important than you know.
How to stay safe: Stock a crate with flash-lights, extra batteries, a battery-powered radio, a hand-held generator to charge your cellphone, cash, blankets, a three-day supply of food (make sure you have energy bars and food for your pets), a first-aid kit and a seven-day supply of common medications. These items will make it possible to weather the storm and keep everyone healthy. Take a moment to create your own emergency kit now and stash it away just in case.
Prepare for the worst, hope for the best
The city of Toronto knows first hand the power of Mother Nature. Snow and ice storms can bring our great city to its knees. Aside from the damage it can cause to our homes - downed trees, bursting pipes and ice accumulation - these forces of nature can put our safety in jeopardy. Please think ahead and prepare for the worst. Let's just hope that we aren't in for any more surprises.
If you have any questions about steps you can take now so you're better prepared, don't hesitate to contact me directly. We can brainstorm ways to keep your house standing and your family safe!
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