Winter weather brings many potential dangers to property owners. Whether you maintain a commercial space or a home, preparing your space for the season can go a long way in protecting it.
In this article, Central’s experts offer five tips for keeping your buildings safe during snow, sleet, ice and more.
Tip #1: Prepare a snow removal plan
Snow removal is an important part of preparing for winter weather.
For homeowners who don’t have snow removal equipment, or businesses without maintenance staff who can keep up with snowfall, it’s important to have a snow removal plan in place before the season begins.
Contact local contractors and create a customized snow removal and maintenance plan that best fits your needs. For example, if your property has a long walkway, make sure the contractor is prepared to shovel snow there. Similarly, consider investing in salt application services along with general plowing if your property is located up a steep road.
Next step: How to choose the right snow removal service
Tip #2: Prepare your thermostat settings
Keeping your home or office at the right temperature is important for the comfort of your family or employees during the winter, as well as protecting your home’s plumbing systems and pipes.
According to the Department of Energy and Environment, thermostats should be set at a minimum of 68 degrees Fahrenheit in winter when the place is busy. Whenever the room is not occupied (for example, when the family is on vacation or the company is closed), the temperature can be lowered to 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, but under no circumstances should it be lowered or turned off completely.
Keeping it in the 60-65 degree range can prevent pipes from freezing and prevent water damage to your facility.
Many new homes and offices are equipped with programmable thermostats that allow you to schedule temperature changes in advance or make changes from your smartphone. However, older buildings will depend on manual lowering and raising of temperatures. Make sure you find out what type of thermostat your room has and plan for it before the temperature outside drops.
Tip #3: Explore the interior spaces
Many property owners have higher-than-average electricity bills in the winter, in part due to increased heat use. Reduce costs and protect the interior of your building from external factors such as snow and wind by conducting a thorough inspection of the interior of your property before winter.
Look for cracks in walls and loose windows or window frames that can let warm air out and inside. Also check the building’s insulation and make sure there are no holes that could lead to additional heat loss.
Tip #4: Check the roof
Snow that accumulates on your roof can cause lasting damage to your property. Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent this.
Despite its fluffy composition, snow itself is a dense material. While factors affect the weight of each snowfall (such as snow moisture and even the shape of the snowflakes), on average, one inch of snowfall equals approx. one pound per square foot. This means that a 2,000 square foot roof with 3 inches of snow holds approximately 6,000 pounds.
Roofs that are not properly maintained or have external damage to supports, shingles, etc. are more likely to collapse under this extreme pressure. For this reason, you should check the roof of your building before the first snowfall and make sure that it is ready to withstand the weight of a heavy snowfall.
Tip #5: Stay away from ice dams
Although ice dams are most common in northern states, they can cause damage to homeowners and businesses during the winter months.
Ice dams occur when dense snow collects on a roof, melts during the warm part of the day and refreezes when it gets colder again at night. This cycle can go on for days, causing thawed water to accumulate under the roof shingles. Most often, this water flows through attics, ceilings and walls, damaging not only the structure of the building, but also its contents.
To prevent ice dams National Weather Service recommends clearing all leaves, sticks and debris from gutters and downspouts before the first snowfall, then minimizing snow accumulation once it begins. Roof rakes, which are long-handled scoops designed specifically for clearing snow and preventing ice dams, are available online and in stores and work well for clearing hard-to-reach areas.
Bonus Tip #6: Get an insurance policy
Sometimes, despite taking all the proper precautions, property damage still occurs during winter weather. In these cases, a reliable homeowners or commercial property policy can protect you from large out-of-pocket repair costs.
Do you know: According to the Insurance Information Institute, 2021 is over in just the first few months 15.1 billion dollars reported in insurance losses.
Reputable homeowners insurance, how Central’s Signature Homeowners Policy designed to provide the coverage you need to fully protect your home. It includes benefits such as full replacement cost coverage for home renovations (even if the renovation cost exceeds the policy limit), replacement cost coverage (for damaged personal items), replacement loss coverage (which is paid in advance before the repair and replacement is complete ), and much more.
In addition, Central offers exceptional Commercial property insurance coverage to protect businesses from such weather-related damage. Central’s Covered Property policies include protection for buildings and their contents, while our Covered Loss policies cover business losses due to damage to your building.
Follow these tips to protect your property and get an insurance policy today.