Protect Your Home

How to Protect Your Home From Severe Cold

Homeowners face some cold-weather storms in the Ohio Valley.

Even though a quick trip to the convenience store for milk, bread and eggs, may be in order, the extreme cold can threaten your home’s structure. Therefore, it is important to take measures to deal effectively with winter’s challenges before it gets into full swing. Invest in the resources you’ll need to keep as many problems at bay as possible.

Here are some precautions you can take to protect your home from the ravages of cold weather storms:

  • Winterize your home - Secure shutters, siding, and gutters to ensure they really are secure. High winds, snow, ice, and moisture from winter storms can strip off any loose outside elements. The weight of the snow and ice alone, can be damaging and creat more problems. Be sure that gutters are clear of debris. Caulk drafty windows and apply weather stripping to doors — both inexpensive strategies that can keep heat in your home. Air sealing can help you save energy and thus, dollars.
  • Winterize pipes - Be sure your pipes, especially those exposed or in unheated areas like crawl spaces, are wrapped in insulation to prevent freezing and bursting. Also, learn where your water shut-off valves are so you can turn off the water supply in case of a leak.
  • Trim tree branches - Branches that overhang roofs or areas where you park your car, your neighbors property or power lines represent a risk. Keep trees trimmed and remove those that are weak or sickly to prevent them from falling.

Check with your municipality about any regulations and contact your local Chamber of Commerce, municipal offices, or contractor rating sites like or to get the names of reputable pros. Tree trimming and removal can be dangerous, so don’t attempt it on your own unless you’re experienced.

By keeping your home in good repair and stocking up on the supplies you’ll need before the rush for rock salt and shovels begins, you’ll be as ready as possible to tough out the storm.


Pay Attention to your Key Appliances

water heater safteyWe rely on hot water heaters throughout the day, every day.

Doing some hot water heater maintenance tasks will help to ensure its continued operation and life. This is just one of several home appliances that deserves your attention, to keep working and to keep in tip top shape. In these cases, an ounce of prevention is worth that pound of cure!

But first, before working on any piece of equipment, think safety. Make sure to wear any appropriate protective gear. This may include; goggles, work gloves or a long-sleeved shirt, as well as thick pants and covered shoes. If at any time during a maintenance check, you are unsure about what you're doing, call a professional.

Some things you can do to access your water heater are:

  • Monitor clarity of your water – cloudy or rusty water indicates sediment in the tank.
  • Monitor the length of time it takes to get hot water – is taking longer than usual?
  • Monitor the pressure and any strange noises – are they normal?
  • Check the floor around the unit – any wet spots could indicate a leak.
  • Check the temperature every six months – should be 115 to 120 degrees F.
  • Check the TPR valve every six months – make sure the valve is working properly.

Signs that any of these symptoms are present means you should take action quickly. By acting quickly you may save the existing unit and lengthen the life of your hot water heater.

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