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Winter-Proofing

Winter-Proofing

A few simple steps to save you from disaster

 

We lived in the mountains, but snow wasn’t a given. Each year we might get a few inches or a foot or two, but only for a week, and then it was back to rain and wind. Then 2016 happened. It snowed four feet in two days. Then the freezing, melting, snowing cycle began. From Mid January to the end of February we had from three to eight feet of snow across the whole town.

Halfway through the mess, our carport collapsed and took out both of our cars. In week four, the snow coming off of our roof took out our front porch in one fell swoop. Even with insurance, we spent thousands getting things back into shape. It was an utter mess.

Once in a hundred year weather events happen, and they can be devastating. But each winter, no matter how mild, can take a small toll on your place that adds up to a major disaster at some unexpected time.

Winter always brings a punch, and sometimes there’s nothing that can be done. But avoidable mistakes are expensive and frustrating. Here are a few tips to keep your place in good shape this winter.

 

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Preparation

 

Buy the Tools Early

Don’t wait until the snow falls to be sure you have a functioning snow shovel, some sidewalk salt or ice melt, and good gloves. Stores sell out quickly after the first flakes flutter down. Don’t get left out in the cold with a driveway full of snow and no tools.

 

Clean Up

There are the obvious things, like raking leaves and yard waste removal, and then there are the things we forget about, like cleaning the gutters or cutting trees back from the house. As you’re getting rid of all this stuff, look around at the condition of the roof, eaves, nearby trees, and other things that might be impacted by winter weather. I could have seen my tilted carport issue if I’d looked more closely.

 

Clear Out

Junk removal becomes impossible once the road is snowy and there’s nothing in the world that could motivate you to head outside to work and clean. Use the fall to get the house in great shape. Each October, I use Go Trashy, the junk removal app, to clear out the stuff I no longer want. We wrote more about this earlier.

 

Check Your Insurance

Make sure your car and homeowners insurance are up to date and adequate. Do you have flood insurance? Fire insurance? Know what you might need, and know what you have. It’s easy these days to forget to update a new credit card on your autopay insurance policy, and then, woops, your coverage lapses at the worst possible time.

 

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Mitigation

 

Hire Pros

Don’t try to handle disasters by yourself. When the winter does get the best of you, hire the roofers, excavators, or plumbers you need to fix things, mitigate issues, and get you back to your regularly scheduled life as quickly as possible. Remember to see what your insurance will cover for you, too. We got a thousand dollar check to cover the cost of digging our crushed cars out from the carport.

 

Fortify

As soon as the snow melts or the sideways rain stops falling, get out there and make the weak spots stronger. The weather is nothing if not persistent. You have to be diligent to keep everything in working order.

 

Don’t Be Stubborn

Sometimes the weather teaches us a lesson if we know when and how to listen. I did not rebuild the carport. And we paid a hefty extra sum to rebuild the front porch in a way that was stronger, safer, and more appealing. Don’t fight the same battle over and over again. Be adaptable, and let the winter tell you where and how to build.

 

Take Care of Yourself

We forget how important self care is when we’re undergoing the stress of something like a carport collapse or being snowed-in for days on end. Whether you exercise, read, meditate, or bake cookies, do the things that make you happy and help you mitigate your myriad stresses. When life throws us challenges it becomes all the more important that we maintain our mental and physical health.

 

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