Winter weather brings with it a host of potential dangers for property owners. Whether you maintain a commercial space or a home, preparing your space for the season can go a long way to protecting it.
In this article, the experts at Central offer five tips to keep your buildings safe under snow, sleet, ice and more.
Tip #1: Have a snow removal plan in place
Snow removal is a crucial aspect of winter weather.
For homeowners who don’t have snow removal equipment or businesses without maintenance staff to keep track of snowfall, it’s important to put a snow removal plan in place before the season begins.
Connect with local contractors and establish a customized snow removal and maintenance plan that best suits your needs. For example, if your property includes a long walkway, make sure the contractor is prepared to shovel the snow there. Similarly, you may want to consider investing in salt application services alongside generic plowing if your property is up a steep driveway.
Next step: How to choose the right snow removal service
Tip #2: Prepare your thermostat settings
Maintaining the right temperature in your home or office is important for the comfort of your family or employees during winter weather and to protect your home̵7;s plumbing system and pipes.
According to the Department of Energy & Environment, thermostats should be set to at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter when a place is occupied. When the space is not occupied (ie, when a family is away on vacation or a business is off), the temperature can drop to somewhere between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, but should never be kept lower or turned off completely.
Maintaining a range of 60-65 degrees can prevent pipes from freezing and prevent water damage in your space.
Many newer homes and office spaces come with programmable thermostats that allow you to schedule temperature changes or make changes from your smartphone. However, older buildings will rely on manually lowering and raising the temperature. Make sure you find out what type of thermostat your space has and plan before the temperature outside drops.
Tip #3: Inspect interior spaces
Many property owners end up with a higher than average electricity bill in the winter, partly due to the increased use of heating. Keep costs down and protect your building’s interior from external factors such as snow and wind by doing a thorough inspection of your property’s interior before winter.
Look for cracks in the walls and loose windows or window frames that can let warm air out and let in the elements. Also check the building’s insulation and make sure there are no holes that could lead to additional heat loss.
Tip #4: Do a roof inspection
Snow that accumulates on your roof can cause permanent damage to your property. Fortunately, there are steps you can take now to prevent this.
Despite its fluffy composition, snow is itself a dense material. Although factors contribute to the weight of each snowfall (such as the wetness of the snow and even the shape of the snowflakes), the average one inch of snowfall is roughly one pound per square foot. That means a 2,000 square foot roof with 3 inches of snow ends up holding roughly 6,000 pounds.
Roofs that are not properly maintained or that have external damage to supports, shingles, etc. are more likely to collapse under this extreme pressure. For that reason, you should inspect your building’s roof before the first snowfall and make sure it is prepared to withstand the weight of a heavy snowfall.
Tip #5: Stay on top of ice dams
Although most common in northern states, ice dams can be a detriment to homes and businesses during the winter months.
Ice dams occur when dense snow collects on a roof, melts during warmer daylight, and then refreezes when it gets colder again at night. This cycle can go on for days, resulting in a build-up of meltwater under roof shingles. Most often, this water will leak through attics, roofs and walls, damaging not only the structure of the building but also the contents.
To prevent ice dams, the National Weather Service recommends clearing all leaves, sticks and debris from gutters and downspouts before the first snowfall and then keeping snow accumulation to a minimum once it begins. Roof rakes, which are long-handled scoops designed specifically to help clear snow and prevent ice dams, are available online and in stores and work well for clearing hard-to-reach spaces.
Bonus tip #6: Get your insurance in place
Sometimes, despite taking all the appropriate precautions, damage to your property still occurs in winter weather. In these cases, a solid homeowners or commercial property policy can protect you from extensive out-of-pocket costs for repairs.
Did you know: According to The Insurance Information Institute, just in the first few months of 2021, over 15.1 billion dollars reported in insured damages.
Reputable homeowners insurance that Central’s Signature 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 cost of rebuilding exceeds the policy limit), replacement cost coverage (for damaged personal effects), replacement cost loss settlement (which is paid in advance before repairs and replacements are completed) and much more.
>> Explore Central’s homeowner policies
Likewise, Central offers exceptional Insurance for commercial properties coverage to protect businesses against these types of weather-related damage. Central’s covered property policies include protection for 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 create your insurance today.