Sunday, February 25, 2007

Winter Hits the Twin Cities--Finally! Important Tips to Protect Your Home!

We have definitely had a wimpy winter by Minnesota standards. But this weekend we are making up for it big time!

Until yesterday, the Twin Cities snow fall total for the season was somewhere around a foot. Since Friday evening and through tonight (Sunday) this whopper of a storm will deliver twice what we have seen all year.

Here are a few reminders of what you should do to protect your home from the accumulated heavy snow:

Get out the snow rake.

A snow rake is like an inverted shovel that is used to rake or pull snow from your the edge of your roof while standing on the ground. The downwind side of your home could have drifts twice as high as the recorded snowfall. Left to melt on its own, the snow can refreeze and cause ice dams. (Icicles are often a sign of this problem.) As an ice dam grows, it will prevent new melt from draining off the roof. This water can be forced under the roofing material and enter your walls or attic. Prevent the problem before it happens with the snow rake it is much safer than climbing on the roof to shovel.

If the edge of your roof is too high to reach with a snow rake or the icicles are already forming, consult a professional as to the best method to clear. It is imperative to address the situation immediately as water damage can cause significant interior damage and eventually mold. The cost to repair at this stage can be astronomical.

Shovel and Clear Around Home.

Dig out any window wells that have filled with snow as well as any stairwell that leads to a lower level. If left uncleared, the snow could cause basement flooding as it melts. Also remember to clear a path to and around your gas meter.

Obviously, this is important so that your meter reader can have access for a correct reading. But less obvious is the risk of a gas leak from damage to the meter by heavy snow. As a precaution, when you clear around the meter, use your hands, not a shovel.