zBuyerconnect: Winter Weather Planning

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Anyone who has watched the news or paid any attention to online media in the last week is aware that much of the eastern United States was pummeled by an historic winter storm last weekend. Granted, many parts of our country get snow – a lot of it – on a regular basis, but seeing tens of millions of people, particularly in our eastern media centers, buried under feet of snow does tend to cause a bit of a stir.

It got us thinking about home ownership, and how to deal with winter weather (historic or not). Fortunately there is no shortage of information on the subject, particularly right now.

Here are few tips that will help your home weather the weather, hold its value and be safer to boot.

Don’t slack on shoveling:

 This entertaining (if a bit vulgar) article from Gawkertakes folks with shared sidewalks to task for not shoveling in front of their homes or businesses.

But what if you live in a private residence? No one is going out, your SUV can easily get down the driveway over snow… what’s the harm in leaving it to melt?

Potentially lots, starting with cracks in the driveway that can get bigger from freezing water without being cleared.

That said, the hazard to people is even greater. Think about your mail delivery folks. Postal workers aren’t obligated to deliver your mail if the path to your box isn’t clear. In addition to being a safety hazard it’s just courteous to make life a little easier for our most diligent workers.

If you don’t have pity for public employees, consider your visitors. You might actually want to be social in the next few days, and heavy snow can linger if cold temperatures set in. You don’t want a neighbor’s kid falling on your sidewalk… and neither does your insurance provider.

Call your insurance agent

Speaking of insurance – you might brush up on your policy’s ins and outs before the next heavy snow. Not all damage related to snow or melting snow is covered in the average policy. Be sure your roof is in good repair, pipes are insulated properly, and tree branches are trimmed each fall and you’re more likely to stay on your adjuster’s good side.

Consider the flooding

When snow finally does melt, it often creates the effects of a serious flood, which can play havoc on basements and septic systems.If you have a sump pump that hasn’t run since spring, make sure it’s operating correctly. An inspection may not be a bad idea, either. If everything’s clear you’ll know you’re set for the spring rains, as well.

Ice isn’t nice
Knowing exactly what’s happening with the weather is important too; ice can have just as bad, or worse, effects on your home as heavy snowfall. In particular, ice can damage trees (which can damage homes and cars). Ice also plays havoc with your gutters and downspouts; be sure they are clear and clean and extend far enough away from your home. The Money Pit has some good detailson preventing ice damage, if you live in a part of the country where this is a common problem.