During these winter months the cold weather can cause a great deal of damage and problems.

I have seen homes withstand cold winters in the past, but the next year have a roof collapse seemingly out of nowhere. Year round maintenance can help with the uncertainty of freezing temperatures and can  give you a heads up on future problems.

For instance, clogged rain gutters with leaves and debris can cause water to build up and freeze and expand compromising your roof. The ice can weigh more than the roof was designed to withstand resulting in a disastrous situation.

What’s worse is the damage to your property or even human injury. It’s never a good time to deal with an emergency, but it’s even worse at 5 below zero. Let’s take a look on how to stay safe and dry.

  • Keep your roof and gutter cleaned before winter. Look for damaged beams or signs of damage and get repaired ASAP. Be sure to de-ice your roof in between snow fall. One cheap way to keep the ice down is to use “Rock Salt” or better yet use calcium/magnesium pellets that are non-toxic for pets. Depending on your house, you might be able to get access from a second story window or from ground level evenly spreading from a ladder or other high spot.

  • Defrost your windshield and side windows. Sometimes your normal defroster won’t help very fast and might need some assistance. Accidents can happen due to low visibility so one trick it to keep a bottle of saltwater solution handy. “Road salt” works better than household salt and is more safer then using hot water. This combined with the regular defroster should do the job while your car is warming up.

  • Keep a safe walking area. There is something about ice that can make me fall flat on my back before I knew I what happened. When you fall so suddenly and unexpectedly, you can set yourself up for a hard landing. Now that I’m getting older, I can’t afford to take anymore chances and need to prevent the risk as much as possible. I like to use a mixture of sand for traction and calcium chloride for effectiveness at 25 below. Make it a habit to start shoveling early on to get a good start on the storm, you will be glad you did.