Snow and ice are lovely to look at – when they’re covering someone else’s roof and walkway. On your own property, the frosty hallmarks of the winter season may not be as appealing. That’s because when you see snow and ice, you know that you have some work to do if you want to prevent slips and falls, water damage, and other winter-related difficulties. Take a look at some tips that will help you keep your home and yard as ice-proof as possible during the winter months.
When it comes to a snow-covered walkway, prompt action is your best bet to ensure that you and your family don’t experience any dangerous slips on the ice. The longer you allow the snow and ice to build up, the more hazardous your pathway becomes. Walking on a frozen pathway compacts the snow, making it even more slippery. Another consequence of waiting too long is that the ice will melt and refreeze, which also increases the slipperiness of the surface. Shovel the pathways in front of your house as soon as possible after a storm ends.
Another thing that can help is to spread salt on your walkways and driveways. This can help prevent ice from forming in the first place, although it becomes ineffective if the temperature drops below 12 degrees Fahrenheit. In that event, you can at least give yourself some traction on a frozen walkway by spreading sand, kitty litter, or sawdust on the ground.
Gutters and Downspouts
Your gutters and downspouts can be your best friends during a rainy spring. However, if you don’t take care of them in the winter, they can cause problems for you. Standing water in the gutters can freeze, and the expanding frozen water can cause damage to the gutter. Or, the ice-clogged gutter’s weight can pull part of your gutter system down, taking pieces of your roof with it. A gutter shield can prevent water from accumulating inside the gutter and keep your roof safer.
Your downspouts are another matter. When winter comes, it’s important to adjust the downspouts so they are pointing away from your driveway and walkways. Otherwise, rain coursing through the gutters and downspouts can quickly freeze and make your yard even more perilous. It’s also a good idea to make sure that your downspouts aren’t directly facing any trees or shrubs that might be damaged by a significant amount of water freezing around them.
Ice dams occur when heat from your attic warms your roof, melting snow that lands on the top. The eaves stay cold, so the melted snow accumulates there and refreezes. Eventually, the ice forms a dam and the water from the melted snow backs up underneath the shingles, causing damage to your roof and water damage inside the house.
An ice dam can be a serious problem. You can’t go after the ice with a hammer and chisel without harming your roofing. You could melt the ice with salt, but the salt water that will drip off of your roof will do serious harm to your plants and trees. Your best bet is to use a long rake to pull snow off the roof to the ground before it can melt. If you notice a leak, take a fan to the attic and aim it at the underside of the roof – this will freeze the water and stop the leak.
For more winter tips and tricks that will help protect your property from the snow and ice, visit our website.