As severe winter weather continues to pummel residents throughout the Midwest and Northeast, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), a national research and communications organization, offers a severe winter weather maintenance checklist for property ownersA impacted by freezing weather. Find out how you can reduce damage to your property from freezing weather by visiting http://www.disastersafety.org/freezing_weather/.
"We urge everyone at risk of severe winter weather to stay tuned to the National Weather Service advisories, and use IBHS risk reduction recommendations to protect their omes and businesses today, and throughout this winter season," said Julie Rochman, IBHS president and CEO.
IBHS FREEZING WEATHER MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST
•Stay Safe and Warm
Alternative heating is a great way to stay warm during the cold weather, but its use comes with risks. Check IBHS’ advice before selecting or installing an alternative heating source: http://www.disastersafety.org/wp-content/uploads/alternative-heating.pdf.
•Build a Plan for a Power Outage
Heavy snow and high winds are a recipe for widespread power outages. It’s important to prepare a plan now before a possible outage. Learn how you can use alternative heat sources and generators safely during a power outage at http://www.disastersafety.org/disastersafety/build-a-plan-for-a-power-outage/.
•Prevent Roof Collapse
Significant snowfall can put a strain on a roof that could cause significant damage and even potential collapse. Unless your roof structure is damaged or decayed, most residential roofs, regardless of the location of the house, should be able to support 20 pounds (lbs.) of snow per square foot of roof space before they become stressed. Determine how much the snow/ice on your roof weighs by using the IBHS information below.
10-12 in. of new snow is equal to 1 inch of water, or about 5 lbs. per square foot of roof space, so you could have up to 4 ft. of new snow before the roof will become stressed.
3-5 in. of old snow is equal to 1 inch of water, or about 5 lbs. per square foot of roof space, so anything more than 2 ft. of old snow could be too much for your roof to handle.
◦Total accumulated weight:
2 ft. of old snow and 2 ft. of new snow could weigh as much as 60 lbs. per square foot of roof space, which is beyond the typical snow load capacity for most roofs.
1 inch of ice equals 1 ft. of fresh snow.
When there is too much snow on your roof, find out how to safely remove it by visiting http://www.disastersafety.org/freezing_weather/prevent-roof-collapse/.
•Prevent Ice Dams
During freezing weather, heat from your home or business can escape through your roof and melt snow on your roof. The snowmelt can then trickle down to the roof’s edge and refreeze, creating an ice dam that leaves additional snowmelt with no place to go but possibly under your roof. The following IBHS guidance will reduce your risk of ice dams.
•Keep all drains, scuppers, gutters, and downspouts free of debris and vegetation that may restrict proper flow.
•Remove or relocate heat sources that are installed in open attic areas directly under the roof, such as an attic.
•Insulate light fixtures in the ceiling below an unheated attic space.
•If you have penetrations into the attic, such as vents, seal and insulate them so that daylight cannot be seen and airflow is minimal.
•If ice dams form around the drains, connect heating cables to the drains to prevent ice buildup. Heating cables can also be placed on the roof, connecting them to the drainage system so a path is created for the melting ice to follow.
Discover additional ways you can prevent costly ice dams at http://www.disastersafety.org/freezing_weather/preventing-ice-dams-on-homes/.
•Prevent Frozen Pipes
Frozen pipes are one of the biggest risks of property damage when the temperature drops. In fact, a burst pipe can result in more than $5,000 in water damage, according to IBHS research. Prevent costly water damage caused by frozen pipes by using the following guidance.
•Provide a reliable back-up power source to ensure continuous power to the building.
•Insulate all attic penetrations.
•Ensure proper seals on all doors and windows.
•Seal all wall cracks and penetrations, including domestic and fire protection lines, electrical conduit, other utility service line, etc.
•Install insulation and/or heat trace tape with a reliable power source on various wet sprinkler system piping. This includes main lines coming up from underground passing through a wall as well as sprinkler branch lines.
•Place a monitored automatic excess flow switch on the main incoming domestic water line to provide early detection of a broken pipe or valve when the space is unoccupied.
•Install Weather Stripping and Seals
Prevent freezing temperatures from entering your home or business by installing weather stripping and seals. This offers two major benefits – it will keep severe winter weather out of your home or business and sealing your property shut also greatly increases energy efficiency by limiting drafts and reducing the amount of cold air that enters. Inspect the following areas of your home or business for leaks to determine possible areas to seal.
•Windows and doors
•Vents and fans
•Electrical and gas lines
Learn how to install weather stripping and caulking at https://www.disastersafety.org/freezing_weather/installing-weather-stripping-seals/.