I just saved this post as “after the storm” and it gave me a chuckle. I sound like Jim Cantore or one of those cute guys on the Weather Channel. What I meant, of course, was how we can help our homes and properties recover from snow, ice and polar vortices. Sadly, our friends in the Northeast are being hit with another polar vortex and although we aren’t expected to see the snow accumulation that they are, we are looking forward (or not!) to another very cold week in Middle Tennessee. If you read last week’s post, you hopefully took some precautions to ready your home for the cold weather, but what should we do after the storms?
First of all, if you do have a great deal of snow, you need to make a quick inspection and decision about your roof. One square foot of compacted snow can weigh up to fifty pounds, so you could easily have a ton (literally!) of snow on your roof. Obviously, that weight isn't good, but the real issue is melting and refreezing. When snow begins to melt and then refreezes overnight, it can cause ice dams… nasty, little blockages that can cause water to drain INSIDE, ruin walls, insulation and cause a huge amount of damage to your home. The quickest and easiest way to remove snow from your roof is by using a roof rake. These are standard home tools in the Northeast and less popular in the Midwest and South, but worth an investment if you're anticipating a storm with lots of snow.
Even the most proactive homeowners may experience ice damming and blockages during these extreme winter weather cycles. It's important to remove that ice and snow with salt or deicers as soon as possible and make sure that moisture is diverted away from sensitive areas like gutters, eaves and your foundation. If you didn't coat your driveway and sidewalks with a deicer before the storm, do it as quickly as possible after. The expansion and contraction of frozen water can wreck havoc on a driveway, causing cracking and heaving.
Inspect your home's siding or masonry and look for cracks, holes and fissures. Without a critical eye, damages might not be discovered for months, making a homeowner's claim difficult to file and collect. Another area susceptible to damage from ice and snow is your fireplace and chimney. Make sure that ice and snow is not blocking the flue and exhaust lines before you light a fire in your fireplace!
Lastly, inspect trees, particularly large, mature trees on your property for splits, weakened branches and breaks. If your trees are located near power lines, it is even more imperative that you ensure they are secure and sound after a storm. The only thing worse than being snowed in is being snowed in without power! Remove weakened and cracked branches immediately, even if the trees in question are not a power threat. Cracked branches can collect moisture, freeze and create even bigger problems than the original crack.
After you thaw a bit, congratulate yourself on protecting and preserving your most important investment. And remember… Spring is only a few months away. Stay warm, friends!