Posts Tagged ‘homeowners’

How To Protect Your House From Winter Weather

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Winter Home Insurance Louisville

Winter weather can wreak havoc on your home. Snow, ice, and wintery winds have the potential to damage your house in a number of ways. That’s why it’s important to take preventative steps to protect your home from “Old Man Winter.” These steps include:

  • Protecting your fireplace – Place a cap or a screen on top of your chimney. This will keep out animals, birds, and anything else that you don’t want going down your chimney like snow and fallen tree branches. Have your chimney cleaned and get a professional to check your damper to make sure that it opens and closes properly. Also have him check the mortar and brickwork and fix any problems in the masonry so it can stand up to the tough winter weather. Replace or add flashing to seal any gaps between the chimney and house structure.
  • Protecting the outside of the home – Look for any cracks around entry points to the home such as where pipes or outside wiring enters the structure. Seal them. Weather strip or caulk around the doors and windows to keep out cold air. If you have a basement, install plastic shields around the window wells. Replace your screens with storm windows if you have them, and fix any broken glass to protect your home from the winter weather. Trim any tree branches that touch the house or hang over your roof. These can be knocked down by heavy snowfall, winds, or ices storms and damage your home.
  • Protecting the roof, gutters, and downspouts – Add insulation to your attic. Add roof vents to increase airflow under the roof and maintain a constant temperature between the eaves and the rest of the roof. This will help to prevent ice dams. Check or add flashing where needed. Caulk any entry holes to seal gaps. Replace any worn shingles. Clean out your gutters and downspouts to keep them from overflowing or causing ice dams. Install leaf guards to keep debris out of your gutters that could cause water back-ups and damage your roof or cause water leaks inside your home.
  • Protecting your foundation – Rake away any debris and vegetation from around your home’s foundation. Seal up any entry points where wiring or pipes enter the home with caulk, flashing, or insulation to keep out water and ice. Seal any cracks in the foundation to keep ice from cracking it any further. Insulate and caulk any crawl space entrances. Seal around any outside doors to the basement as well.
  • Protecting your plumbing – Shut off the water main to your sprinkler system and outside faucets. Have a professional blow out the excess water from your sprinkler system with an air compressor to keep the outside plumbing from freezing and cracking. Insulate any exposed pipes with pipe insulation. Drain the air conditioner pipes and turn off the AC water valve if it has one. If your home will not be occupied for a while, leave the heat set to at least 55 degrees to keep the pipes from freezing.

Click here if you want more information about how to properly insure your home or to get a free Louisville Home Insurance Quote.

Preventing Ice Dams

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Winter weather brings with it a variety of different issues that homeowners need to be aware of. One of these is the problem of ice dams. An ice dam is basically a ridge of ice that builds up along the edge of your roof. The dam then backs up water that naturally runs down your roof and forces it up and under your roof shingles, damaging them. If the dam becomes large enough, and the water is deep enough, it can penetrate the entire roofing system and create additional water damage inside your home.

An ice dam can be identified as a bulge of ice attached to the eaves or overhang of your roof. You may notice icicles hanging from the roof edge or stains on your siding. Your rain gutters may also be overflowing with ice if you have a dam. Often, you may not be able to see the bulge, because it is covered with several inches of snow. This snow can even act as an insulator, further exacerbating the problem.

Louisville Ice Dam Home Insurance

There are several steps you can take to prevent ice dams. In principle, all you have to do is keep the entire roof the same temperature as the eaves. This can be done by increasing ventilation to the roof, adding insulation, and sealing off any air leaks that may be warming the underside of the roof.

  • Add insulation – By adding insulation to your attic, your home’s heat will remain in the lower floors or main portion of the home and not be lost through the roof. You can tell if your home is properly insulated by looking at the roof after a snowstorm. If your neighbor’s house has snow on it, but the snow on your roof has melted, you don’t have enough insulation and are losing heat through your roof.
  • Ventilate the eaves and roof ridge – Adding ridge vents and soffit vents will circulate cold air evenly under your entire roof. Both vents should have the same size openings and provide at least one square foot of opening for every 300 square feet of attic floor. Placing baffles on the eaves will maintain a clear path for the airflow from the soffit vents.
  • Cap your hatches and install sealed can lights – Seal off your attic hatch or whole-house fan opening. These holes allow heat to escape. Cover them with caps and weather stripping constructed from foil-faced foam board and aluminum tape. Old fashioned recessed lighting fixtures give off a lot of heat and cannot be insulated because they would pose a fire hazard. Replace them with sealed “IC” fixtures.
  • Check your exhaust ducts and chimney flashing – The exhaust ducts connected to the kitchen and bathroom, as well as the dryer vent should all lead to the exterior of the home via the roof or walls, never through the soffit. Spread fiber-reinforced mastic on the joints of your HVAC ducts or exhaust ducts and cover them entirely with R-5 or R-6 foil-faced fiberglass. Seal the gap between the chimney and the house framing with flashing, holding it in place with beads of fire-stop sealant.
  • Do some caulking – Seal the holes or gaps around any electrical cables, phone wires, cable TV wiring, or vent pipes protruding from your home with fire-stop sealant. Also seal up any other holes or cracks you find.

Click here if you want more information about how to properly insure your home or to get a free Louisville Home Insurance Quote.