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SALT LAKE CITY — The skiers and snowboarders sure love it, but the loads of snow we received this winter provide more than just beauty, much-needed water and recreation opportunities. The heavy snow storms that have pounded our state this winter can also wreak havoc on our homes and cars if we do not take special care to protect them.
There are some winter chores that we cannot skip or put off. For example, we have to clear off our car to see enough to drive, and we have to shovel our driveway in order to get to and from our homes. But there are other, seemingly not as immediate tasks that we cannot forget. Failure to protect your car and home from the seasonal elements can leave you with major damage, so here are a few things to remember when we get hit with next big storm:
- Car Undercarriage: During and after big storms, the Utah Department of Transportation applies salt to the roads to keep the snow and ice from sticking. It helps to improve driving conditions, but it can also adversely affect the undercarriage of your car. It's important to wash your car and undercarriage within a few days of a big storm to remove the potentially harmful salt. This prevents the salt from promoting rust and corrosion.
- Roof: Have you ever noticed when you are out shoveling just how heavy the snow can be? Imagine what has accumulated on your home. Snow can cause significant damage to your roof if it gets too heavy, even to the point of your roof collapsing under the weight. Also, if your attic does not have great ventilation, the heat can cause the snow to melt in certain places and freeze elsewhere causing ice dams that keep the melting snow from properly draining off your roof. If you do not feel safe or comfortable removing snow from your roof hire a professional. But do not neglect your roof.
- Rain Gutters: To prevent damage to your rain gutters during the winter, we recommend you clean the debris out toward the end of the fall season. That way, during the winter, melting snow can properly drain from your roof and away from your home. If you did not clean out the gutters, or even sometimes when you have, large icicles can form. Like the snow on your roof, they can become quite heavy. Not only might they pull your gutter away from your house, but if the gutter detaches completely, it could cause secondary damage to your home, a car or a person. When icicles begin to form on your rain gutters, safely knock them down periodically before they get too large.
- Pipes: During harsh winters, the temperature often dips below freezing. To make sure the pipes in your home do not freeze, keep water moving through them. Even a slow drip from your faucet can keep enough water running through pipes to usually keep them from freezing. Should your pipes freeze, the expanding water can cause your pipes to burst, and that can be as costly as it sounds.
Our homes and our cars are some of our biggest investments, so it is important to take care, when possible, to keep them from what is oftentimes preventable damage. It is also important to take care of ourselves. Especially in bad weather, please remember to leave yourself extra travel time and slow down. After all, you are your most important investment.