Editor's note: These tips were provided by Mike Holmes, a home designing expert with shows on HGTV.
As winter storms continue pummel much of the Southeast, and yet another storm is predicted to bury their neighbors up north later this week, homeowners are scrambling to make sure their homes are safe.
Mike Holmes, star of the popular television series "Holmes on Holmes" and "Holmes Inspection" as seen on HGTV and the recently launched magazine Holmes: The Magazine to Make it Right, has compiled a few tips on how to keep your home safe and sound as you weather the storm:
• The most important thing to remember when prepping your home for bad weather is that you don't want water from melting snow to get behind any exterior sheathing — the stucco, siding or bricks. If it does, the wood framing and structure will get wet. You want your exterior structure to be able to repel water, but if any does get in, you want the water vapor to be able to escape. It'll dry out eventually, but repeated wetting and drying will lead to rot. You also don't want the water to get further inside; if it soaks the insulation, that's bad, because it's very difficult for moisture to escape once it's trapped within the building envelope.
• Start by clearing snow away from doors and windows. Snow melting could come in windows, doors and other openings in the house which could lead to mold issues.
• Watch out for and remove ice dams. An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home causing damage to walls, ceilings and insulation. To prevent the formation of the dam, be diligent about removing snow from the roof using a "roof rake" or push broom.
• Keep the walkways and steps clear. However, when clearing walkways and driveways made of concrete, do not use salt. Salt eats through concrete and causes it to crack. Use eco-friendly products that don't contain harmful chemicals.
• Make sure to keep snow away from all air vents that bring air in for furnaces and hot water tanks
Should your area receive a large amount of snow, make every effort to hire a pro and remove large snow deposits from roofs and away from intakes, doors and windows, as large quantities of melting snow, especially on roofs, can cause a great deal of damage to not just siding and insulation, but gutters as well
Winter storms can wreak havoc on your home, and end up costing you a lot of money in the process. Winter proofing your home doesn't have to be costly or overwhelming, and can give you piece of mind, while keeping you and yours safe and warm. Remember, winter proofing your home is as important as weatherproofing your car. The more you take care of it, the better it takes care of you...
For more helpful tips on caring for your home, look for the February issue of Holmes: Magazine to Make it Right on stands Jan. 11.