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Real Estate Insider: When weather attacks

By   /   February 15, 2013  /   Be the first to comment

Chris Woodard

Chris Woodard

Whether you are a homeowner or a caretaker, it is extremely important to take precautions well in advance of a storm, not only for your own personal comfort, but also to protect your property and maintain its value.

I thought I was prepared for the recent blizzard: I had a brand-new generator, and I knew how to use it. But when the time came, it wouldn’t start. A mechanically-skilled friend talked me through injecting gas directly into the carburetor. I pulled the cord, and it sputtered.  I pulled the cord again, it sputtered again—but almost caught. I pulled a third time….and pulled the cord right off.

It was a cold couple of nights, wasn’t it?

Here are some of the most important ways to safeguard your house when the weather gets rough:

• Make sure that the equipment you are depending on—like your portable generator—actually works, especially if it is not something you use often. I (now) know that the ethanol in gas can actually gum up the carburetor of a rarely-used small engine.
• We live in an area with a high water table, so lots of us have sump pumps. But they won’t run without electricity. You must have a backup battery.
• Clean your gutters in fall and spring. Make it a priority. It is very important to keep water flowing properly off your house, or it can sheet down your exterior walls and leech into your foundation. It can back up under your shingles as water, or it can create what’s known as an “ice dam.” Water will get inside your house and damage your roof, ceilings and more. And while we are on the subject of gutters, use extensions to direct the water away. There’s not muck point in having clean gutters if they are just directing the water straight down and undermining your foundation.
• In the fall, go around the house and inspect your landscaping, paying extra attention to tree limbs that could break and cause property damage or injure someone.
• If you have an older house and use storm windows instead of replacement windows, make sure to schedule a day in the fall when you go around and secure your storms for the winter. There’s no point in having storm windows if you leave the screens as the front line of protection.
• This can’t be overstated: install carbon monoxide detectors, make sure they are working properly, and replace the batteries every six months.
• Keep paths clear so your oil company or other utilities can continue to make deliveries to your property.
• Most importantly, keep an eye out for your neighbors, especially the elderly. If you are young and healthy, or you have kids who can work a shovel, get out in the neighborhood and make sure that everyone is safe. We’re all in this together.

Chris Woodard has been involved in real estate for nearly 15 years — as an investor, broker and consultant. He is currently an associate broker at the Keller Williams office in Bristol.  A native of Bristol, he lives in Warren with his wife and two children.

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