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Snow Problems? Not with These Winter Tips for Homeowners


Shoveling, frostbite, missing gloves – snow can be a pain in your winter boot. To your home, it can mean water damage, cracked walkways, and flooded basements.

So when you hear winter weather is on the way, avoid dangerous situations with these tips for preparing your house for snow!

Clean your gutters 

Now that the leaves are down, clear your gutters.

Do gutters cause ice dams? No, not really, but debris inside the gutters can backup and create those notorious ice dams on the edge of your roof. Once most of the leaves have fallen (so you won't have to do this twice), get out the ladder and clean your gutters. While you're at it, check the downspouts, too. If the downspouts aren't leading the water away from your house, melted snow can find its way into your basement.

If you're not comfortable working on a ladder, contact a roofing professional to clean your gutters and even inspect your roof. If they notice any issues, they fix it before water can get inside your home. They can also help you to safely remove roof ice and if need be, install heated cables. These can warm the roof and melt away any snow and ice.

Check your sump pumps 

Are your sump pumps up for the challenge?

Ice can melt and seep into your basement throughout the winter months. That's why you should never shovel or blow snow against the foundation of your home. Even if you follow all these tips, home floods can still happen.

So head down to your basement and check your sump pumps. Make sure they are plugged in, and if you haven't cleaned them this year, call a professional to do so. If you haven't had your sump pumps inspected in a few years, it's a good idea to have that done now, too.

The price of an inspection and maintenance is less than the cost of a flooded basement

Seal your walkway and driveway cracks 

Prevent your driveway from forming large cracks.

Contrary to popular belief, ice melt doesn't harm concrete. Ice does. Water gets into any cracks and then expands when it becomes ice, cracking the structure more. Instead, fill the cracks you can with the help of a patching mix and bonding agent. Not sure how to do this? Hire a professional.

Also, make sure to bring in your patio furniture and garden hose before they freeze!

Spread ice melt before snow begins to fall

Spread salt before the snow falls.

Stop slippery surfaces from ever forming by sprinkling ice melt before you see the first flakes. This will help to prevent ice from forming and creating a dangerous situation on your walkways.

Also, small shovels tend to clump ice melt, so use a hand fertilizer for small areas, like your walkways, and a walk-behind spreader for bigger areas, like your driveway. These tools will also sprinkle the ice melt evenly, saving you money and delivering safer surfaces. 

Read the directions on the package 

Ice melt doesn't work well on bricks, and most ice melts require you to wear gloves when applying. Read the directions to choose the best treatment for your outdoor surfaces and hands.

Buy a welcome mat 

Don't drag snow inside your house.

If you're using ice melt, then it's best to leave it outside and not drag it in with your boots. It can damage the finishes on hardwood floors, leave dirt on carpets, and create slippery situations on other surfaces. By using mats, you can leave the ice melt outside. If you end up with some particles inside, use a vacuum to clean carpets and a mop and cleaner for other surfaces.

Ready your shovel or snow blower 

Bring out the tools of the season.

Inspect the cables and handles of your snowblower. Add fuel and oil. Check for damage on the rotor blade and scraper, and if need be, call a certified repair shop to replace these parts.

If you're kicking it old school with the shovel, consider using non-stick spray, such as Pam, or car wax, such as Turtle Wax, on the bottom section. The sticky snow will just slide off. If any of the handles or other parts are older, replace your shovel. It's easier than replacing your back. 

Walk your property 

Find issues before they become problems.

This is an important step when learning how to prepare for extreme weather, not just a winter storm. 

Make notes of where you need to trim trees or even cut them down. Call professionals to handle jobs outside of your comfort or ability zone. Also, clear any items in the way of your shovel/snow removal path, so you won't have to do that once the snow begins.

Give your outdoor electricity one last look 

Make sure your outdoor fixtures are ready for the winter.

Do your exterior lights work? Do you need to change any light bulbs or call an electrician to repair a fixture? Now's the time to do it before the snow gets everything wet and heightens the danger.

Stay on top of home maintenance 

vipHomeLink can help!

vipHomeLink can help! Our home management app can help with winter storm preparedness and getting your home ready for winter. We'll also help how to lower your heating costs with reminders for winter home maintenance, and our app sends weather notifications right to your phone! If snow is on its way, we'll let you know and provide you with easy snow removal tips.

Know what to do and when to do it with vipHomeLink. Subscribe now with a monthly or annual membership.

Happy Snow Day!

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