Winter Weather Can Be Harsh On Your Home; Taking Simple Steps Now Can Help Reduce Potential Damage

TAMPA, Fla., Nov. 5, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Fall is the perfect time to protect your home against problems that can be caused by winter weather. The biggest threats are ice dams and bursting pipes, but melting snow can also lead to water damage.

The Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) says taking these steps now can help you avoid costlier problems down the road.

 --  Keep gutters clear of leaves and debris to help keep ice dams
     from forming.

 --  Ensure that drains in outdoor basement stairwells and window
     wells are working.

 --  Consider removing outdoor window flower boxes and other
     non-essential exterior fixtures (unless permanently built to the
     house with proper flashing) on which snow may accumulate and melt
     against the walls.

 --  Ensure that skylights and other roof openings have proper weather
     stripping or gaskets around the edges to prevent snowmelt from
     seeping through.

 --  Have a licensed plumber install an emergency pressure release
     valve in your plumbing system to protect against the increased
     pressures caused by freezing pipes. (If you can't take this step,
     remember to let faucets drip slowly during cold snaps.)

 --  Make sure your attic floor is well insulated to minimize the
     amount of heat rising from the house into the attic, but keep
     combustible insulation (e.g. insulation other than fiberglass) at
     least 3" from any recessed lighting fixtures, fan motors, or
     other heat-producing devices.

 --  Make sure attic vents are unobstructed.

 --  Fit exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping to slow
     heat transfer.

 --  Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water
     pipes with caulking.

IBHS is a national nonprofit initiative of the insurance industry to reduce deaths, injuries, property damage, economic losses and human suffering caused by natural disasters. For more information, visit the IBHS web site, or call toll free (866) 657-4247.

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