The Farmer’s Almanac prediction for a cold, snowy winter is proving to be true! We have definitely seen colder-than-normal temperatures with more precipitation (snow) than usual – as predicted. Were you prepared for each snowstorm that hit?

In this article, I have compiled a number of great tips on how to prepare your house and property for a snow storm.

Snow Removal On and Around Your Property

Did you know that in many BC municipalities it is the homeowner’s responsibility to remove snow and maintain the sidewalk surrounding their property?

In the City of Surrey, for example, you must clear snow from the sidewalks surrounding your property before 10 am after a snowfall.  If not, you could be at risk of a $50 fine per day.

Here are some great tips for clearing snow on your property.

  • Make sure you have a snow shovel on hand as trying to buy one after a snowstorm can be difficult – many stores sell out fast!
  • Keep icemelter, salt, or sand on hand as well to use as an added precaution. Trying to buy this at the store after a snowstorm can be tricky too!
  • When shoveling the sidewalk, try to move snow onto your yard and not onto the street. When a snowplow goes by, the snow will just end up back on your sidewalk.
  • Gently brush off any plants, bushes, or trees from heavy snow.
  • Do NOT go on your roof in freezing weather. Wait until after the snow and ice have melted and it is safe to go on your roof to inspect for damage or leaks.
  • If you have a fire hydrant, clear the snow around it for ease of use in an emergency.
  • If possible, park your vehicle on your driveway. If not possible, the City of Surrey recommends you talk to your neighbors and all try to park on the same side of the road to make it easier for snow plows to navigate.
  • If your car is exposed to snowfall, remove snow from the vehicle even if you do not plan to go out. It is easier to remove one day’s worth of snow rather than three days or after the snow melts and freezes on the vehicle.
  • Are your neighbors elderly or have limited mobility? Be a good neighbor and help them keep their sidewalks and driveway cleared.
  • As the snow begins to melt be sure to make sure any storm drains or basins around your property are clear to prevent buildup of water.

As the City of Surrey reminds residents, be sure to wear bright and reflective clothing along with warm boots, gloves, and a hat when you go out to deal with snow.

Preventing Frozen Pipes in Your Home

Although we rarely have to deal with extreme weather conditions in the Fraser Valley there is still risk, from time to time, for water pipes to freeze. Turning on your faucet or shower only to find that no water comes out because it is all frozen can be very troublesome! Not only is it inconvenient but frozen water pipes can often burst causing significant damage to your home and unexpected repair costs.

Prevent your water pipes from freezing by following these tips:

  • Cover any outside faucets with foam covers.
  • Turn off water to outside faucets.
  • Insulate exposed pipes.
  • Keep cabinets under the sink open.
  • Let your faucet drip a little to prevent it from freezing. If a single lever, let drip in middle of hot and cold temperatures. If separate handles, let both cold and hot drip.
  • Just in case, make sure that you know where the shut off to your main water line is and be ready to turn it off if needed.

If your pipes do freeze, be sure to monitor your water usage for leaks after everything has thawed.

Preparing the Outside of Your Home and Garden

It is best to prepare your home for winter as fall comes to an end. However, if you haven’t done these things and there is snow in the forecast, be sure to follow through!

  • Make sure all gutters are clean (as well as downspouts) in order to prevent ice from forming.
  • Drain any pools, bird baths, fountains, or other
  • Turn off the waterline to your garden hose.
  • Address any dead trees or branches that could be hazardous in heavy winds or with a heavy snowfall.

You find more great tips in my BC Winter Home Maintenance Checklist!

Tips for Staying Warm Inside Your Home

It can be a welcome change to slow down and enjoy a snow day at home when your house is warm! Here are some ways you can make sure your family stays warm despite dropping temperatures outside:

  • Even though falling snow can be pretty, you can keep your home warmer by closing drapes and blinds.
  • Remove or cover up any window air conditioner units.
  • Install or replace worn out weather stripping around windows and doors.
  • If you have ceiling fans, run in reverse to push the warm air down in the room.
  • Be sure to have plenty of firewood or propane on hand if that is your primary source of heat.
  • Close the garage door.

Preparing Your Family for Extreme Ice and Snow Storms

Not only it is important to make sure that your home is prepared, but it is also important to make sure that you and your family are prepared in the case of extreme weather. There may be days where the roads are too icy or the wind too cold to head out to the grocery or run day-to-day errands. Here are some ways you can be prepared:

  • Keep a well-stocked pantry with non-perishable foods as well as bottled water.
  • Ensure you have a sufficient supply of prescription medicine on hand.
  • Make sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas, just in case.
  • Charge all cell phones.
  • If necessary, have a portable generator on hand in case of power outages.

If you are thinking of selling your home this winter, be sure to check out my recent article Benefits of Buying a Home in Winter.

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