Watching snow fall can be a beautiful sight! A walk through the woods, seeing the fresh snow lay on tree branches can be very peaceful. Children can have fun sledding, making many memories with family and friends. Along with the beauty can also be the increased work. Plowing a driveway and shoveling sidewalks can be a chore. During winter months homeowners should be aware of the risks associated with heavy snowfall, ice, and freezing temperatures. They should take safety measures to prevent major damage to their home, as well as any liability risk.
Roof Damage or CollapseWhen snow piles up on the roof of a house or a barn there is an increased chance of damage or even a roof collapse. According to Farmshine Magazine, the statistics regarding roof collapse can be alarming. In very cold temperatures, 24 inches of new snow can be equivalent to about 24 pounds per square foot. Once the snow settles and becomes packed, along with the right weather conditions, the weight can drastically increase. The once powdery snow can then equal 40 to 50 pounds per square foot. Most house roofs can support about 20 pounds before they start to become stressed. It is extremely important to replace sagging roofs or prior roof damage before a snowstorm hits!
Freezing PipesOne of the most common causes of property damage in winter months is freezing pipes. During frigid temperatures the pipes expand and then burst, costing a homeowners thousands of dollars in repairs. Some ways a homeowner can prevent this is by taking the precautionary actions:
- Insulate the pipes with insulation from your local hardware store.
- Insulate your attic, basement, and crawl spaces.
- Seal or caulk any cracks where cold air can blow in.
- Keep your garage doors closed.
- Make sure your heat is at an appropriate temperature both morning and night.
- Allow small drips of water to come out of faucets. Just a small amount can keep water moving, preventing frozen pipes.
Slip & Fall HazardsAnother hazard winter can bring is icy conditions. Not only is it a concern when driving but it presents slip and fall hazards for homeowners. The Pennsylvania law does not hold a homeowner liable for slip and falls caused by generally slippery conditions. However, if the homeowner allows ice or snow to accumulate in dangerous ridges or elevations for an unreasonable amount of time, they can be sued. It is important to know your specific local laws for clearing snow. To avoid the headache and possible legal fees of this sort of incident, it is best to take precautions right from the beginning.
- Plow driveways and shovel sidewalks
- Apply salt or gravel to walking areas
- Have proper lighting in order to see snow or ice patches
- Place a rug or mat in front of home entrances
Homeowners InsuranceNot all accidents can be prevented. Hence, the importance of having adequate insurance and being aware of the coverage provided. A homeowner should verify that they have enough insurance to cover a partial or total loss. We recommend talking with an experienced agent about what perils are covered and which are excluded. At Barrick Insurance, our well educated staff can help you make informed decisions about your policy and educate you on homeowner insurance policy basics. For more information give our office a call at (717) 632-7270.