(BPT) - Rain, sleet, ice and snow — no matter what form it’s in, precipitation can lead to major winter damage resulting in many issues for home and business owners. Icy roads, ruptured pipes and ice dams are all complications brought on by winter water, and the threat may be even greater this season according to national weather predictions.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting this winter to be wetter-than-average in many parts of the country. Additionally, when you consider the threat of El Nino looming for certain regions, proper seasonal preparation is especially important this year.
“When it comes to winter weather, it pays to be prepared for the worst,” says Peter Duncanson, director, disaster restoration system development at ServiceMaster Restore. “Preparing now is important, as excessive precipitation combined with freezing or near-freezing temperatures can cause significant damage overnight.”
To protect yourself and your home from winter’s harshest weather, here are four must-do tips for the right winter weatherization from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore.
* Understand your insurance policy. If something goes wrong at your house, you want to know you’re covered. That means now is the perfect time to review your insurance policy closely. As you do so, pay special attention to what is and is not specifically covered, as it applies to winter weather conditions. You may find gaps in your policy where additional coverage is needed. Also, check to see if your custom shed is protected as welll.
* Keep your gutters flowing. Your gutters are one of your home’s most important defense mechanisms when it comes to water removal — but only if you keep them clean. Clear your gutters of debris as soon as possible and repair any leaks to ensure proper water flow. Keeping your gutters clear does more than just rid your home of excess water, it also stops the possibility of ice dams — a very expensive seasonal hazard. Once your gutters are clean, make sure your downspouts are clear of debris as well, and that they properly divert water several feet away from your home’s foundation.
* Fortify your foundation. Water damage to your home’s foundation can easily cost thousands of dollars so it’s worth your time to reinforce it in advance. Take a trip around your house and inspect the foundation for cracks or small holes where water can seep in. Even a few inches of water can damage your carpet, drywall, wood floors or the foundation itself.
* Prevent pipes from freezing. A frozen pipe that ruptures can be one of the most destructive winter water accidents. To protect against frozen pipes, insulate your home’s outdoor pipes with a faucet cover or even a towel. You should also ensure pipes that border an exterior wall are well insulated. This will keep the pipes warm and reduce their risk of bursting. On the coldest nights, it’s a good idea to open faucets a small amount, allowing water to drip into a drain to keep water moving through the pipe. You can also leave cabinet doors open underneath sinks to circulate air and protect against freezing.
* Weather proof your custom Shed. Add weatherstripping, clear up any debris, and hang up any tools to open up floor space for a snow blower or bucket of enviromentally friendly snow melt.
Follow these four steps to help your home enter the spring nice and dry. To learn more about ServiceMaster Restore, visit ServiceMasterRestore.com.
(BPT) - Many homeowners pay little attention to their trees and bushes once colder weather arrives, but seasonal maintenance done during these months can be incredibly beneficial, not only for the plant but for you as well.
So grab your tools and your gloves because it’s time to get started on your winter tree pruning.
Why is tree trimming important?
Sometimes, we remember to prep the lawn for slumber until spring, but forget about the trees and shrubs. Pruning trees and shrubs during the dormant cycle ensures they will have a full growing season when spring arrives. In addition to the longer growing season, winter is also a good time to prune because colder temperatures reduce the risk of disease or pests attacking the plant.
Finally, pruning your trees during winter is also an easy way to protect your home from dying or diseased branches that may pose a falling risk. This is especially true in regions where heavy snowfall is common.
What trees or shrubs should you prune during the winter?
There are several species of trees or shrubs that can be pruned during the fridgid months, but you can categorize them into three easy-to-remember groups:
* Hardwood trees. Pruning hardwood treesis easy thanks to their lack of foliage. Branches should be cut just above the branch collar — the space where the limb and the tree come together. This area of the tree is rich in anti-microbial chemicals to help the tree heal from the pruning without suffering decay. Clippers can be used to trim smaller branches, but for larger sections or dying plants, use the Husqvarna 450 chainsaw. This all-around powerful saw features the X-Torq engine for lower fuel consumption and emission levels without a drop-off in power. Its auto return stop switch makes it easier to handle, perfect for those spots where you need to make that precise cut.
* Fruit trees. Similar to their hardwood cousin, this is also a great time of year to prune fruit trees. Each species of fruit tree has special considerations you must take into account, however, so research your species before pruning. Once you’re finished, your efforts will be rewarded in the spring with larger, more delicious fruit.
* Shrubs and/or trees that flower. Want the best blooms next summer? Prune any tree or shrub that flowers after May 15, late in the winter. To handle those projects efficiently, use the Husqvarna 136LiHD45 hedge trimmer. This trimmer features advanced battery technology for optimal power output, and their one-touch keypad makes it easy to get the job done right without excess battery loss.
When do you start pruning?
Branches that pose a falling risk should be handled immediately, but if you want to maximize the spring growing season, late winter is the time to prune. Start your project with the right tools and you’ll support fuller, healthier plant growth during the spring, giving you another great reason to say goodbye to winter.
(BPT) - What do you love most about winter? Is it the skiing and the sledding, the trips to the winter carnivals or seasonal get-togethers? There’s plenty to love about winter — and often that means driving out to enjoy those things.
With sleet, snow and ice, winter weather can make your driving experience worrisome this time of year. But you don’t have to sacrifice your favorite winter activities just because of winter road conditions. Follow the five winter driving tips below and you’ll be able to focus on the moments that make this season great.
* Slow down. Sometimes the simplest tips are also the most effective. When you’re out on the road, reducing your speed by 50 percent during snowy weather is advised, just be sure you don’t slow down too much. Your car must maintain its momentum to avoid getting stuck in the snow.
* Have the right vehicle for the job. Nothing is worse than feeing unsafe in your car when bad weather hits. That’s why it is important to choose the right vehicle: one that is ready to take on wet and slick driving when winter weather strikes. For example, the Subaru Legacy comes standard with all-wheel drive, a feature that helps provide peace of mind when faced with difficult road conditions. The Legacy also comes available with Subaru EyeSight technology, an accident avoidance system that includes pre-collision braking, lane departure and sway warnings and rear cross traffic alert; all designed to provide an extra set of eyes and help keep you safe no matter where your winter travels take you.
* Keep in touch. When traveling on winter roads, particularly over long distances, it’s good to alert others to your trip plans. Call loved ones and let them know where you are going, when you will leave and when you plan to arrive. This keeps those waiting for you in the know in case of an emergency so they can help if needed. And don’t forget to provide periodic updates during your trip so loved ones can rest easy.
* Know how to handle a skid. Despite taking proper precautions, you still may find yourself sliding on an icy road. When you start to feel your vehicle enter a skid, don’t panic and just remember a few key techniques. First, take your foot off the gas – this will help to slow down and makes it easier to control the vehicle. In addition to laying off the gas, fight the urge to slam on the brakes but tap the brake pedal lightly and frequently. This helps to regain some traction and also slow the car down. Last, but certainly not least, lightly turn the wheel in the direction of the swerve to help guide the car toward that direction, this will prevent the car from entering a spin. As a final tip, look in the direction you want to go, rather than fixating on what you are trying to avoid; it really does help.
* Pack a winter weather kit. Sometimes, despite all your preparation, winter weather can still leave you stranded. If this should happen to you, it’s good to be prepared. Pack a winter weather kit and keep it in the back of your car for such emergencies. Your kit should include a backup phone battery and charger, blankets, water, protein bars, a de-icer, a flashlight, a tow rope, radio and cat litter — in case your tires need a little extra traction. Hopefully you’ll never have to use any of these items, but should you get stuck, you’ll be happy you planned ahead.
Braving through tough winter weather doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying your favorite seasonal activities with friends and family. Utilizing proper safety habits, packing the right supplies and choosing the right vehicle will help ensure you reach your destination safely to create winter memories that last a lifetime.
*To learn more about the legacy, visit Subaru.com.
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