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How to Protect Your Home From this Winter’s Polar Vortex

Man Cleaning GuttersA new study on the effects of global warming may mean that the Polar Vortex that brought freezing temperatures to many parts of North America last winter is here to stay. The study, conducted by American and Korean scientists, points to the melting ice caps as the reason for freezing winter temperatures. As warm water from the Gulf Stream warms the normally freezing waters of the Arctic, the Arctic ice caps melt, causing the northern jet stream to push cold air further south into the U.S. and Canada. What’s the bottom line? Global warming means colder winters and more snow are the new norm.

Many remember the record-breaking temperatures of last winter and seemingly endless snowfall, and aren’t looking forward to another winter like it this year. The Polar Vortex may be here to stay, but there are still some things homeowners can do to make the winter months a little more bearable for themselves and their homes.

With warm weather still lingering in many parts of the country, now is the ideal time to get outside and prepare your home for the cold winter ahead. With the cold weather comes snow and ice, and houses that are not ready to handle them may face expensive repairs.

The roof, gutters and caulking are all important parts of the house to inspect before the cold comes. You can visually check your roof for signs of damage by making sure there are no holes or loose shingles. Depending on how much snow you usually get, your roof may have to hold a lot of snow that builds up over the winter. Fixing a damaged roof now will prevent water from leaking in and damaging your ceiling once the flurries start to fly.

It is also wise to check gutters for debris, like leaves and twigs, that build up over the summer and fall. This is important, to ensure that melting snow drains properly through your gutter system, instead of sitting in the gutters and causing water damage.

Check the caulking around the windows and doors of your home, as well. Caulking that is damaged, or missing altogether, can allow cold air into your home. Effective caulking can also save you money on energy costs, as an added bonus.

Weatherizing your home is important for preventing major damage from snow and ice and for keeping the cold air out, but it is essential to continue maintenance even during the winter months. Preventing large icicles from forming along gutters can keep the gutters from getting damaged or falling off your house, and shoveling snow from the foundation of your house also prevents water damage in the basement.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to get your home ready for the cold months ahead. This winter is shaping up to be another cold and snowy season, but preparing your home for the damaging effects of the Polar Vortex can make it a little more tolerable.

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