Many residents in Western New York are experiencing significant winter weather conditions due to the lake-effect snowstorm. The main concern of Allstate is the safety of all residents in and around the Buffalo area. Allstate and the Insurance Information Institute offer these tips to stay safe during the storm, and preventing further damage after the storm, as warm weather returns.
Before/during the storm
•Keep the house heated to a minimum of 65 degrees. The temperature inside the walls where the pipes are located is substantially colder than the walls themselves. A temperature lower than 65 degrees will not keep the inside walls from freezing.
•Open hot and cold faucets enough to let them drip slowly. Keeping water moving within the pipes will prevent freezing.
•Identify the location for the main water shutoff in your home. Find out how it works in case you have to use it.
•If you use fireplaces, wood stoves and electric heaters, watch them closely and make sure they are working properly.
•If you haven't already, make sure all hoses are disconnected from outside spigots.
•If your garage is attached to your house, keep the garage doors closed. The door leading to the house is probably not as well-insulated as an exterior door.
•Watch for ice dams near gutter downspouts. Keep gutters free of leaves and debris so melting snow and ice can flow freely. Ice dams can cause water to build up and seep into your house.
•Keep sidewalks and entrances to your home free from snow and ice.
After the storm
•If you discover pipes are frozen, don't wait for them to burst. Take measures to safely thaw them immediately, or call a plumber for assistance.
•If your pipes burst, first turn off the water and then mop up spills. You don't want the water to do more damage than it already has.
•If it is safe to do so, make temporary repairs and take other steps to protect your property from further damage. Remove any carpet or furniture that can be further damaged from water seepage. Save your receipts from any temporary repairs.
•Avoid getting on the roof and avoid working on a ladder or beneath a roof that has accumulated large amounts of snow and icicles.
•Watch inside your home for unexpected water leakage on walls or ceilings. Ice build-up in eaves and gutters following heavy snows can prevent drainage. As the snow melts water can seep under shingles or tiles and into the home.
Minimize ice dam formation on your roof
•For personal safety, avoid getting on the roof or working from a ladder to remove large amounts of snow and ice.
Here are other tips from Allstate to help safely minimize potential ice damming damage:
•If it's safe to do so, use a snow rake or soft broom to clear fresh snowfall from gutters.
•Avoid using any sharp tools or ice picks to remove ice as this can cause more damage.
•Consider calling a licensed expert to remove the snow and ice dams.
•Watch inside your home for unexpected water leakage on walls or ceilings
•Identify areas of heat loss in your attic and then properly insulate those areas.
•Wrap or insulate heating ductwork in order to reduce heat loss through the attic.
•Ensure there is proper ventilation by installing soffit vents that move air upward to a ridge vent or other venting near the roof ridge.
•Seal all openings to the attic (e.g. light fixtures)
•Prior to snow falling, keep gutters and downspouts clear of leaves and natural debris.
Policyholders may want to review their policy or contact their agent if they have any questions. By protecting your home using the winter weather tips above, homeowners may avoid experiencing potential damage.