How to Survey Your Home for Storm Damage

Time: 30 minutes

When a big winter storm hits, there's nothing better than curling up in your house knowing you're safe and warm. Afterwards, though, you need to inspect your home for storm damage to make sure your house is up to the task of providing shelter for the rest of the winter. Once you clear your driveway of snow, take the time to inspect your home, both inside and out. Here's what you need to know.

What's in it for you?

  • Better protection from the elements
  • Reduced likelihood of leaks and water damage
  • Free flowing water in your plumbing system

How to Survey Your Home for Storm Damage:

  1. Check for frozen pipes. While the storm rages, head to the basement to inspect your pipes. Pipes along the outside wall are most likely to freeze, so look for frost in these areas as well as under sinks along an exterior wall. If your pipes are frozen, try using a hair dryer or pouring warm water over them to thaw them out. If that doesn't work, call a plumber to help ASAP, as frozen pipes could burst and cause significant damage to your home.
  2. Inspect for wind damage. Walk around your home's exterior to check that the wind hasn't whipped away any of your home's cladding. Check the roof for missing shingles and the siding for any breaches in the clapboards or shakes. Check also to see that any storm windows and screens are still attached to the house.
  3. Look out for ice dams. During cycles of freezing and thawing, a heavy snow on your roof will melt and drip toward the edge, but this can refreeze at the eaves and gutters, causing water to back up and leak into your home. Clear gutters of debris and ice if possible, and rake snow away from the edge of your roof to prevent ice build-up.

Pro Tip: Prevention is the best way to keep ice at bay. Allow faucets to drip on the coldest nights, as moving water won't freeze easily in your pipes. You can also prevent ice dams by installing heat cables along the edges of your roof before the snow falls.

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