Winter weather brings with it a number of potential dangers for property owners. Whether you maintain a commercial space or a home, preparing your premises for the season can go a long way in protecting it.
In this article, Central’s experts share five tips for protecting your buildings from snow, sleet, ice, and more.
Tip #1: Have a snow removal plan ready
Snow removal is a crucial aspect of preparing for winter weather.
For homeowners who don’t have snow removal equipment or businesses without maintenance personnel to keep snowfall under control, it’s important to establish a snow removal plan before the start of the season.
Contact local contractors and create a customized snow removal and maintenance plan that best suits your needs. For example, if your property has a long sidewalk, make sure the contractor is prepared to shovel the snow there. Similarly, if your property is on a steep driveway, consider investing in salt application services in addition to general plowing.
Next Step: How to choose the right snow clearing service
Tip #2: Prepare your thermostat settings
Maintaining the right temperatures in your home or office space is important for the comfort of your family or employees during winter weather and for protecting your home’s plumbing systems and pipes.
According to the Department of Energy and Environment, thermostats should be set to at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit in winter when a place is occupied. When the room is unoccupied (eg, when a family is on vacation or a company is off-hours), the temperature can drop anywhere between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, but should never be kept lower or turned off altogether.
Maintaining a range of 60-65 degrees can prevent pipes from freezing and prevent water damage in your space.
Many newer homes and offices come with programmable thermostats that allow you to plan temperature changes in advance or make changes from your smartphone. However, older buildings rely on manually lowering and raising the temperature. Make sure you find out what type of thermostat your room has and plan ahead before outside temperatures drop.
Tip #3: Inspect the interiors
Many property owners have above-average electricity bills in winter due to increased heat consumption. Keep costs down and protect your building’s interior from outside elements like snow and wind by conducting a thorough inspection of your property’s interior before winter arrives.
Look for cracks in the walls and loose windows or window frames that could let warm air out and let the elements in. Also check the insulation of the building and make sure there are no holes that could cause additional heat loss.
Tip #4: Do a roof check
Snow that piles up on your roof can cause lasting damage to your property. Luckily, there are steps you can take now to prevent this from happening.
Despite its fluffy composition, snow itself is a dense material. While factors contribute to the weight of each snowfall (like the wetness of the snow and even the shape of the snowflakes), the average snowfall is roughly equal to one inch a pound per square foot. That means a 2,000 square foot roof with 3 inches of snow will end up holding about 6,000 pounds.
Roofs that are not properly maintained or have suffered external damage to supports, shingles, etc. are more likely to collapse under this extreme pressure. For this reason, you should check your building’s roof before the first snowfall and make sure it can handle the weight of a heavy snowfall.
Tip #5: Stay on ice dams
Although ice dams are most common in the northern states, they can be detrimental to home and business owners during the winter months.
Ice dams form when dense snow collects on a roof, melts during the warmer hours of daylight, and then refreezes when it gets colder again at night. This cycle can last for several days, leading to a build-up of meltwater under roof shingles. Most often, this water seeps through attics, ceilings and walls, damaging not only the structure of the building but also its contents.
To prevent ice dams that National Weather Service recommends removing all leaves, sticks, and debris from gutters and downspouts before the first snowfall, and then minimizing snow accumulation once it begins. Roof rakes, long-handled shovels specifically designed to clear snow and prevent ice dams, are available online and in stores and are good for clearing hard-to-reach spots.
Bonus Tip #6: Get your insurance policy
Sometimes, despite all precautions, damage to your property still occurs during winter weather. In these cases, solid home or commercial property insurance can protect you from high repair costs.
Did you know: According to The Insurance Information Institute, the first few months of 2021 alone will be the end of it $15.1 billion shown in the insured losses.
Well-known household insurance companies such as Central’s Homeowner Policy is designed to provide the coverage you need to ensure your home is fully protected. It includes benefits such as full replacement cost coverage for rebuilding a home (even if the rebuilding cost exceeds the policy limit), replacement cost coverage (for personal property that is damaged), replacement cost coverage for loss claim (which is prepaid before repairs and replacement is complete) and much more.
>> Learn about Central’s homeowner policy
Central also offers the extraordinary Commercial property insurance Insurance coverage to protect businesses from such weather-related damage. Central’s insurance policies cover the protection of buildings and their contents, and our Covered Loss policies cover loss of business due to damage to your building.
>> Explore Central’s commercial property policy
Follow these tips to protect your property and set up your insurance policy today.