Denver home with snow
Photo by Nick Bastian , under license CC BY-ND 2.0

Before The Next Storm: Prepping Your Home for Extreme Winter Weather

Although Denver has had a very quiet first-half to the 2013 -14 snow season, Coloradans know that, because the Front Range can receive much of its annual snowfall during the spring months, we’re not necessarily out of the woods.

In fact, residents of the Mile High City still talk about the whopper March 2003 storm that dumped 31.8 inches of heavy, wet spring snow onto Denver, and many feet of snow onto the foothills communities.

So, as we move through winter months toward spring, we need to keep vigilant and make sure our homes are properly protected. The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA) and Ready Colorado both offer some valuable tips.

  • If you haven’t already, consider installing storm windows, or cover existing windows with plastic, to keep cold air out, Ready Colorado says.
  • If you have a snow thrower, make sure the machine has been serviced and that it’s functioning properly and ready for immediate use. Keep rock salt and/or kitty litter on hand too, so you can melt ice and gain temporary traction.
  • Keep your gutters clean of leaves and other debris so that snow or freezing rain can’t accumulate and cause an ice dam, the RMIIA says.
  • If you have branches that hang over gutters, roof areas or walkways, remove them, says the RMIIA; otherwise, they can cause problems once they become heavy with ice and snow.
  • Stock up on fuel for heat in case of a long-term power outage, advises the RMIIA. When used safely, backup heat sources like a fireplace, a wood, coal or pellet stove, or a camp stove, can be invaluable. Many people in the mountain communities own generators and have plenty of gasoline available; that way, they can fire up the generator to help run heat sources that are dependent on electricity, such as pellet stoves.
  • You may be isolated for several days, so have an emergency kit with flashlights, extra batteries and other emergency essentials prepared, Ready Colorado suggests. Make sure you have an adequate supply of drinking water, and don’t forget food and water for any pets.
  • Have an emergency communications plan, in case family members are separated during a winter storm. Designate a family member or friend who lives out of the area to serve as a central contact, says Ready Colorado.

Take measures now, so that, even if “the big one” hits, you’ll be well prepared.


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