This weekend’s storm is just the latest of many that the Westfield area experiences this time of year. Most likely, it will not be the last. So, when the weather eases up, you might want to follow these winter storm safety tips for your home to survive during the next big weather event we see.
Winter Storm Safety Tips for Your Home
Carbon Monoxide – The Silent Killer
Some Union County homeowners keep a generator on hand for rough winter weather. That is smart. However, do not run these generators in your home. These generators emit carbon monoxide gases. Since they are both odorless and nearly invisible, they may easily fill up a room before anyone notices. Even generators placed directly outside of the home may allow dangerous gases to invade inside. Follow the directions from the manufacturer as to the safe placement and operation of your generator.
Another way carbon monoxide kills is from your car’s emissions. Even if you open your garage door before you start up your car, idling builds up deadly carbon monoxide inside. In attached garages, these gases could invade your home as well. Therefore, the safest way to warm up your vehicle before you leave is to move it completely out of the garage before starting it up.
Using Alternative Light Sources
Another winter storm safety tip to follow is in regards to using alternative light sources. If the electricity goes out, you might choose to light candles or use kerosene lamps. When you do, make sure to set them on a flat surface away from flammable materials. Never leave a burning candle or kerosene lamp unattended. And always keep them out of reach of children and pets.
Insulate Your Windows and Doors
Keeping the cold winter air out of your Westfield area home is crucial, especially during a winter storm. Check your windows for drafts. Replace cracked or dried caulking. If you can see light shine through your exterior doors, that means the freezing air can easily come inside. Sometimes, simply adding a door sweep may be enough. However, you may also need to add some weatherstripping along the door jambs to completely seal it.
Trim Those Trees
Wild winds and heavy snowfall can damage trees. In turn, this could mean trouble for your home. You want to keep at least a three-foot “tree-free” perimeter around your home. This includes the tree’s branches. Otherwise, you run the risk of a heavy branch falling on your home and causing serious damage.
Keep Gutters Clear
Before and after every winter storm, check the gutters and downspouts for debris or ice build-up. Ice dams form quickly. These dams prevent water from draining properly. Stagnant water tends to damage roofs and walls.
Check the Roof
My final winter storm safety tip is to check the roof. Look for signs of damage. These include rust or cracking in the flashing, shingles that are either missing, broken, buckled, or curling, and cracked rubber around the vent pipes. You might be able to repair the shingles or flashing. But it is best to leave most roof repairs in the hands of a professional.
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