It’s not a TV foreshadowing…it looks like a stark reality that winter may actually pay us a longer visit this weekend. After a wonderfully mild fall and winter here at Delaware’s beaches, the forecast calls for high winds, coastal flooding, snow and rain. While we may (thankfully) not get as much snow as our DC and Northern neighbors, the wind and potential flooding are definitely causes to get prepared.
Here are a few tips for homeowners to try to prevent costly damage and keep you safe:
Gutters – make sure they’re clear so ice doesn’t back up under shingles and they don’t cave under the weight.
Trees – be watchful of stray branches that may fall on your house or car.
Roof – keep an eye on worn, missing or damaged siding and roof flashing so you can save yourself a leak.
Chimney – inspect for any cracks.
Attic – add to the insulation on your attic floor, both to keep heat in and let the area above the insulation stay cool enough so snow isn’t likely to melt and refreeze.
Exposed pipes - wrap exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or 2 inches of Underwriters Laboratories (UL)-listed heat tape.
Cables – caulk cracks and holes around cable TV wires so interior pipes are not exposed.
“Trickle down” – allow a water trickle from any faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces.
Get smart – make sure you know where your home's main water valve is (typically in the basement or outside near the curb) so you can turn water off quickly if a pipe bursts. Also, drain the water system to prevent pipes from freezing damage and bursting if you go away.
Keep warm – If you are leaving your home, lower the heat but don't turn it all the way off.
Prepare pets – In addition to your own provisions, make sure you have enough pet food. And if your pet doesn’t like going outside when there’s snow on the ground, proactively put down a secured tarp. Then, after the snow, fold it back and you have a cleared space for your pet’s necessities J
Post-snow - clear snow and ice from walkways, steps and driveways. Treat these areas with rock salt or deicing products. And if you haven’t been active lately, take it easy! Shoveling is hard work.
Above all, stay safe inside!
Tips adapted from USAA and Federal Alliance for Safe Homes.