Winter Preparedness Tips For Standing Water Near Gutter Downspouts
Prevent standing water from collecting near the gutter downspout and prevent melting snow from becoming a source for water entering the basement or crawl space.
GET STORM READY!
Simple tips that you can do yourself to become storm ready. Protect yourself, family, and your home from danger storm conditions.
KEEPING DRIVEWAYS, WALKWAYS AND STEPS CLEAR AND SAFE
Shovel, deicer, and sand; using them effectively can make a big difference to your safety and peace of mind. Often home owners make common mistakes when trying to prevent and clear snow and ice by using the wrong products to melt ice on driveways and walkways.
- SAFE DEICER – Better deicer: Both calcium chloride and magnesium chloride give off heat when they come in contact with ice and snow. Calcium chloride works well to –25°F but can cause irritation if it comes into contact with your skin or eyes. Magnesium chloride works well to –15°F and is less irritating to skin and eyes. Purchase calcium or magnesium chloride in granules shaped like pellets rather than flakes. Pellets penetrate the ice faster and more efficiently.
- Caution for pet owners: Chloride deicing products can be toxic to cats, dogs and any other pets that might swallow them either as crystals or in melted pools of water. If this is a danger, consider buying a product containing propylene glycol and urea instead.
- BEST SAND – You should not use (all-purpose) or masonry sand. These are inexpensive, but they are not as gritty as playground or sandbox sand for providing traction. Do not use kitty litter or sawdust, as both absorb water and can make ice more slippery.
MULTIPLE SHOVELS – Try to have at least three types of shovels on hand:
- Ergonomic – Multipurpose shovel for clearing snow on steps and narrow walkways
- Snow pusher – This is a shovel with a wide, C-shaped
- Round-point steel – Blade shovel for chipping hardpacked snow and light ice on walkways.
Tip: Shoveling several times, even while it’s still storming, so that snow doesn’t get a chance to bond to surfaces. (It’s also a lot easier to shovel 2 inches of snow than 5.) Don’t heap snow on foundation walls, where melting water can become source for water entering the basement or crawl space.
BASIC HOME EMERGENCY KIT AND TIPS
- Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways.
- Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
- Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.
- Family Communications Plan
- Bring pets inside during winter weather.
- Insulate pipes with insulation and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear.
- Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them.
- Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
BASIC AUTO EMERGENCY KIT (Keep these items in a bag in your trunk)
- Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries
- Blanket & Old winter boots and clothes for the trunk
- Booster cables
- First-aid kit
- Bottled water and nonperishable high-energy foods
- Shovel, snowbrush and ice scraper
- Keep your gas tank filled above halfway to avoid emergencies in bad weather.
PREVENT ICE DAMS FROM FORMING
Take care of trouble spots and you will enjoy a winter free of icicles—and the damage they can do to your roof
- Remove snow from your roof after every storm – Use a roof rake to clear snow from the edge of your roof upwards of three to four feet immediately after each storm. In addition to helping prevent an ice dam from forming, this will lessen the stress on your home’s roof.
- Clear downspouts – An easy way to help snow and ice drain off your roof is to make sure the area around your downspouts is clear. This can help prevent standing water from collecting near the gutter downspout.