Tips on preparing your home for Severe Winter Weather


With severe weather advisories coming up in these next days, it is important to stay vigilant and protect your home and your loved ones. These tips can help minimize any potential risk and problems that can arise during such low temperatures. 

Inside of your Home

If you already prepared your home for winter, then you’re ahead of the game, however you still need to take a few extra steps when it gets really cold.

  • Keep your home’s temperature at least at 65 degrees. Take into account that the inside of the walls tend to be colder than the inside temperature. Having the home lower than 65 might not prevent the pipes (which are inside the walls) from bursting.
  • Locate the main shut off valve. Make sure you know how to turn your main water valve off in case of an emergency.
  • Let both your cold and hot faucets drip a little. If the temperature drops significantly, having the water run can prevent the lines from freezing.
  • Make sure your heating sources (fireplaces, heaters, etc) are working properly. Keep an eye on these, specially if it’s the first time using them. Keep combustible materials away. Remember safety first.
  • Close the fireplace flue when not in use.
  • Ask your neighbors to keep an eye on your home if you are away. Water leaks or bursted pipes need immediate attention to minimize damage. If you are going to be away for an extended period, make sure to have your main water valve shut off and your pipes drained—if you have a pool, make sure this is also taken into account, if necessary hire a professional to have your plumbing ready.

Ouside the home

Keeping an eye out for potential hazards and acting before time is key when expecting sever weather. If there’s snow, the extra weight could potentially damage your roof, obstructed gutters will prevent water from flowing and filter into your home.

  • Keep sidewalks snow and ice free when possible. Prevent slip and falling accidents.
    Turn off your landscape timer and drain your system. If you have a system that runs in automatic remember to turn it off and drain it. You may need to contact your landscaping professional to help you if you don’t know how to.
  • Keep an eye out for ice dams near gutter downspouts. Clear your gutters and check for ice dam build up. These can make water build up that can seep into and damage your home.
  • If temperature is expected to drop below freezing at night, keep your pool pump running. This will keep the water flowing through the pipes.
  • Keep your garage doors closed. This will prevent weather damage to whatever’s stored in there. Plus, if your garage is attached to your house, the home entrance door from the garage is probably not as well insulated as an exterior door so this will keep more heat in.
  • Remove any dead, damaged or dangerous tree branches. In severe weather damaged or dead branches can fall and damage property or someone near by, even if the looked fine before the winter season, make sure you inspect them if severe weather is expected.
  • Remember to bring any outside pets inside of the home. During severe weather, they also need protection from the elements.

What to do in a case of a problem

Sometimes the unexpected can occur, acting fast can make a huge difference.

  • Prevent pipes from bursting. If no water is coming out of your faucet, chances are your pipes are frozen. Take actions to thaw them immediately, or call a plumber for assistance.
  • If your pipes burst, shut your water right away. Before anything shut the main water valve (yes the one you already located and recalled how to shut off, remember?), THEN attend to the mess and …
  • Dry and repair any damage caused by water. This will help prevent any mold damage later on.

Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels.

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ICON Home Custom Builder is proud to be a RESNET Energy Smart Builder and is committed to increasing the energy performance of the custom homes we build..

Outside of a mortgage loan, the highest cost of homeownership is energy. That’s why smart homebuyers ask for a home’s HERS Index Score to determine its energy efficiency before buying. The HERS Index Score is like an MPG (miles-per-gallon) sticker for homes. After all, it makes sense to know the energy performance of a home before making the investment.

Visit Hersindex.com for more information.

Some answers that will help you in the process

With home energy costs skyrocketing, it only makes sense to find out how energy efficient a home really is. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that a home built to the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code uses 30% less energy than older homes. Many builders today are building homes that use 70% less energy than existing ones.

A home built to the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code is awarded a rating of 100 on the HERS Index. This is taken as the RESNET Reference Home. The lower a home rates, the more energy efficient it is. Therefore, a home with a rating of 70 on the HERS Index is 30% more efficient than the RESNET Reference Home. A rating of 130, however, is 30% less efficient than the RESNET Reference Home.

The RESNET HERS Index is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured. The HERS or Home Energy Rating System was developed by RESNET and is the nationally recognized system for inspecting, testing and calculating a home’s energy performance. Certified RESNET Home Energy Raters conduct inspections to verify a home’s energy efficiency and recommend improvements that can be made to increase it.