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Beat the Winter Woes: 9 Tips to Protect Your Home From Mother Nature

Photo credit: James Hardie

The period of peace that you enjoy with the crisp calmness of fall is the perfect time to prepare for the coming harsh winter weather.  Heavy snow, ice dams, and strong winds can really take a toll on your house – and, in turn, your wallet.

Luckily, there are easy ways to prevent property damage, even in the biggest of blizzards. Here are nine tips to keep your home warm and cozy this winter. 

Protect the pipes.

Frozen pipes are the number one casualty of cold weather as pipe bursts can lead to thousands of dollars in flood damage. Wrapping basement and crawl space pipes with insulation is an easy solution to help prevent this. If temperatures dip below freezing, help your pipes out by opening cabinet doors to allow warm air to flow around them; let your faucet drip just a bit to keep water moving.

Invest in a home generator.

Get a standby generator to keep your fridge, heating system, and lights running in case of power outages. Prices for moderately sized generators can be as cheap as $500. Do your research to find out what sort of generator would suit your family’s needs. Always consult a professional electrician before installing and NEVER run a gas generator inside.

Install a carbon monoxide detector.

Protect your family while keeping them warm! Furnaces and other heat sources are essential, but can leak carbon monoxide if not properly ventilated. Carbon monoxide detectors will alert you of any potential problems and should be installed on each floor of your home.

Clean gutters and storm drains.

Make sure your gutters and drains aren’t being clogged with leaves or debris.  A regular cleaning can help to avoid cracking gutters, ice dam buildup, or melting snow leaking into your basement. As a bonus, most contractors will offer to do a checkup on your roof while they are up there.

Opt for fiber cement siding.

Capable of combating extreme temperatures, fiber cement is five times thicker than vinyl, making it better suited for the winter chill – like grabbing your heaviest parka on a snowy, blustery day. Cosmetically, it boasts a real woodgrain look and feel. Outside of winter months, fiber cement siding resists moisture and mold, and is resistant to fire damage and pests, making it a true four-season product.

Seal air leaks.

Keep the warm in in as much as you can. Caulking cracks around windows, trim, and baseboards helps to seal in all the warm air in your home and save on extra energy costs. If your door jiggles or doesn’t close firmly, you could be losing air. Storm doors have an adjustable strike plate, which can be moved slightly to keep the door from blowing off the hinges on windy days. Metal or rubber door sweeps can be added on to doors to close the gap between the bottom of the door and floor.

Trim tree branches away from your roof.

Take care to trim overhanging branches away from your roof or hire a tree service to remove any threatening branches from the perimeter of your house, driveway, and yard.

Prepare emergency kits.

Release your inner Boy or Girl Scout and keep a stash of supplies ready for any winter weather disasters. Go-to items should be road salt, non-perishable food, a car charger for phones, flashlights, batteries, radio, sleeping bags, and extra cash. Make sure any medications or first-aid supplies are included as well. If you don’t have the time for a DIY kit, the Red Cross online store sells pre-made emergency kits.

Inform your insurer.

Check to see if your insurer is able to cover any winterizing costs like stormproof shutters or devices that detect high water flow and automatically shut off water supply. These fixtures can help reduce your premium by up to 35%. Remember: the insurer saves money when you take measures to protect your home.

Photo credit: James Hardie

Backed by a Good Housekeeping Seal, James Hardie fiber cement siding has a 30-year non-prorated warranty. For more information on how James Hardie can protect your home this winter, visit jameshardie.com.