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Preparing Your Home and Family for Winter Storms

When Temperatures Dip, Will Your Family Be Ready?

Major winter storms do more than give your snow blower a reason to live; Heavy snow and extreme cold can last for several days and your family should have a plan to remain safe during dangerous times.

When storms dominate the forecast, there are a few steps every family should take but may not come to mind immediately. Stocking up on non-perishables and minimizing outdoor travel should seem like no-brainers, but beyond finding a matched set of mittens, many families forget some of the other simple steps required to keep safe and warm.

  • Run the water regularly - Your plumbing system is critical during a winter storm. Pipes freezing and bursting could lead to some of the most expensive home repairs. This is especially true in southern climates where pipes may be more exposed in an attic or crawl space .. Opening the faucet, even just a drip, will provide relief from the excessive pressure that comes with ice blockage and can prevent a burst pipe.
  • Have extra pet food and water for pets on hand - Non-perishable food items and extra water (a gallon per day per person) should be automatic when preparing for an upcoming storm. But don't forget about the other important members of the family and have extra stores of pet meds and food.
  • Install storm windows - During the summer months when you're making home improvements, take a good look at your windows. Check for air leaks on windy days and make upgrades if necessary. Storm windows provide an extra layer of protection for your home.
  • Have a home backup generator installed - When the power goes out during the storm, a home backup generator keeps the lights and heat on. A automatic home backup generator, like one of Generac's Guardian Series, is a great option because it immediately kicks on when your power goes out and maintains a sense of normalcy when all else fails.
  • Reverse your ceiling fan - Ceiling fans aren't only useful in the summer. Reversing the direction of your ceiling fan pushes warm air downward. If you make sure your fan is turning clockwise, you' ll stay more comfortable during cold winter months.
  • Winterize your sprinkler system - This should be done at the end of the fall. Winterizing your sprinkler system includes not just turning off the water supply, but ridding the pipes of excess water by blowing compressed air through the sprinkler lines.
  • Reduce risk of ice dams by properly insulating the attic - Ice dams occur when snow on your roof melts and then freezes near the edge of the roof. This blocks water from draining off the roof and forces it into your attic. Proper insulation reduces the amount of heat escaping your home via your roof. The risk of ice damming can be reduced by making sure your roof and insulation are both in good shape.

It's essential to remember to stay warm, dry and calm during a winter storm. Being prepared before a storm occurs is crucial. By having a plan you can ensure safety for your family and stability for your home.

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Being Prepared Occurs Before the Storm

Preparing homes and families for winter storms is something that shouldn't be pushed off until the first snow. Preparing takes more than just stocking up on shovels and sidewalk salt. Winter storms can cause mass power outages and everyone must be ready. Who can forget the violent storms that battered the Northeast in October 2011leaving more than 3 million customers without power?

Being prepared before the storm is crucial. A power outage is the Grinch that can quickly wipe away the holiday cheer. One way to avoid the hassle of dealing with a storm is installing an automatic home backup generator. A home backup generator, such as Generac's Guardian Series, is a great option. It automatically kicks in when power goes out and maintains a sense of normalcy when all else fails. Generators keep your home warm, even during some of the most dangerous storms.

While thinking about preparing for winter storms, other precautionary measures that should be top of mind include:

  • Having extra non-perishable food
  • Installing storm windows
  • Winterizing your sprinkler system
  • Checking insulation levels in attic
  • Adding anti-freeze to toilets and drains
  • Installing new batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

When you're prepared, your Christmas lights are still going put the Jones' to shame. Plus, the best way to ring in the New Year is from the comfort of your warm, cozy living room. With an automatic home backup generator, you can keep the storm outside and the power on.

Don't Predict, Prepare

Emergency Preparedness Tips

You can't predict when a storm will hit, but you can prepare for it. That's why FEMA and the Red Cross recommend every family have an emergency preparedness kit in their home. The kit should include:

  • Food (enough for 72 hours)
  • Cash
  • Water (enough for 72 hours)
  • Change of clothes
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Medications
  • Generator

Automatic home backup generators automatically turn on when the power goes out, and remain on until power returns. Generators help in dangerous weather-related situations by:

  • Keeping lights on so residents can see dangerous debris
  • Keeping furnaces running so residents can stay warm
  • Keeping refrigerators running so food and medication aren't spoiled
  • Keeping the Internet connection on so residents can stay connected, work from home, and monitor the storm
  • Keeping sump pumps working to reduce basement flooding

In addition to making an emergency preparedness kit and installing a home backup generator, there are other ways to prepare for storm season:

  • Make copies of personal documents and papers in case originals are damaged
  • Find out where to take pets in case of an evacuation
  • Purchase extra batteries for weather radios
  • Ensure camera is charged to take pictures of damage for insurance purposes
  • Write down family and emergency contact information and give to loved ones

Generac Power Systems manufactures the most reliable home backup generators on the market. They give homeowners the safety and reliability they need to get through the storm. So while you can't predict the storm, you can prepare to get through it safely.

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