The cold weather is a hot topic this year. High winds, rain, snow, and freezing temperatures are punishing provinces from coast to coast. As a homeowner, there are certain safety issues that can arise when the temperature falls. Maintaining the safety of your property and keeping yourself injury free should be considered a high priority when caring for your home in winter.
Here Are 4 Things to Consider When Maintaining Your Home This Winter
Icicles and Ice Dams
Icicles may hold a certain romantic charm, but the truth is that they may pose a danger. Icicles can grow to considerable lengths and weights. If they grow from high up enough on a building, the force delivered by a falling icicle can be deadly. According to an article on Accuweather.com, a half-pound icicle, measuring three inches in diameter can exert 1,000-pound force on whatever it hits, if falling at a terminal velocity between 80 and 90 miles per hour.
As dangerous as icicles can be, the homeowner’s real enemy here is the ice dam. Ice dams are large chunks of ice that form along the edge of a roof and prevent the snow and water from properly draining. When rain and moisture settle behind the ice dam it can leak through the shingles and eventually into the home, causing considerable damage.
Healthy Shoveling Practices
Most Canadians know that it’s important to keep your property and any sidewalks in front of your property safely shoveled during the wintertime. It is also equally important to shovel in a way that does not endanger your physical health.
How to Ensure Safe Shoveling:
- Get help from other members of your household
- Choose the right shovel
- Stretch before you shovel
- Lift properly
- Take breaks
- Switch to a snow thrower
Using your home’s fireplace can be a small pleasure during a particularly cold season. The warmth, scent and general ambiance can make the frigid temperatures much more bearable.
When using a wood burning fireplace, be sure to exercise certain precautions to keep your family safe from potential fireplace dangers. The primary areas of concern are ventilation and burn prevention.
Ventilation –To promote good ventilation, ensure that the flue is open before starting the fire. This will allow any smoke to be drawn out of the home. For added comfort, try keeping an adjacent window cracked.
Burn Prevention –Burn prevention is important whether you have a wood burning or gas fireplace. First and foremost, never leave a burning fire unattended. Additionally, put a safety screen in place to prevent small children or animals from burning themselves on either the hot glass or open flame. You’ll also need to ensure that there or no flammable décor items or materials placed too closely to the fireplace.
Slip and Fall Prevention
Keep driveways and pathways clear and safe. In addition to shoveling the snow, be sure to protect against slippery ice with a salt or sand application. You can also purchase ice melting mats for these areas. Don’t forget to ensure that the sidewalk in front of your property is properly cleared and salted as well.
Of course, winter fall prevention is also an indoor issue. This is particularly true if there are small children, seniors, or other individuals with mobility issues in the household. To keep everyone safe, place absorbent utility mats on the floor in front of all exit doors. Ensure that winter boots and other gear are safely stowed away to prevent tripping hazards, and immediately mop up any puddles of slush, ice, or water.
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