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How to Prepare Your Home for Trick or Treaters!

With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to make sure your home is prepared for trick-or-treaters! Besides transforming the front of your house into a creepy, scary graveyard, there are a few things you should keep in mind to keep your home safe for those who dare to trick or treat!

1. Keep it well lit

While we understand the appeal of a dark, dim lit front door and entrance way, there are a few reasons to keep it well lit.  First, it’s night time and the chance of people tripping over something or falling on the stairs goes way up if they can’t see where they’re going. Second, often people assume that no one is home if the lights are off . Make it clear that you’re joining in the fun by having your exterior lights on!

2. Clear the Path

Trick or treaters will be too excited to pay close attention to where they’re walking come halloween. To avoid any accidental trips or falls, clear all tripping hazards such as hoses, sprinklers, etc from your front lawn. Even better, light up the path to your front door to encourage people to stick to that pathway.

3. No candles!

While Jack-o-lanterns and those paper bag cut outs lit up by candles are popular and festive decorations, they aren’t always the safest choice the night of Halloween.  Paper easily lights on fire, and with children running around, an accidental run in with a lit up jack-o-lantern could easily result in disaster.  Use battery powered candles instead. It will still create the same spooky effect, but in a much safer way.

4. Pets

While we believe your beloved snuffles is the ultimate man’s best friend, having a dog barking at the front door can scare trick or treaters at every age away.  While your fluffy friend may not bite, he could bump into a small child knocking them down or scare a child to run into the street.  The best protocol is to keep pets safe and secure away from the front door.

5. Reconsider some treats

Due to allergies and certain intolerances, some kids end up excluded from the fun of Halloween. It might be nice to consider having a separate small bowl of non-food treats for those might have an allergy to some of the candy.

While Halloween should be frightening, it shouldn’t be dangerous! Have an amazing Halloween this year and keep these tips  in mind for a spooky but safe Halloween!

 

How to Prep yourHouse forHalloween

Dealing with Ice Dams

Ice dams go hand in hand with those beautiful looking icicles that form around your house. The snowy roofs and freezing weather that winter brings causes thick ridges of solid ice to form inside the eaves. These dams can cause havoc on your roof by ripping down gutters and loosening shingles. Even worse, they can cause water to pour back into your house.

To prevent them, it’s helpful to know why they form in the first place. Attics tend to collect heat and keep the roof warm. The eaves, however, stay cold. When snow lands on the warmer roof, it melts, slides down into the cold eaves and freezes up. As the ice begins to accumulate, a dam forms causing melted water from the roof to back up behind it, unable to flow off of the house, and comes under the shingles and into the house.

Once this happens, the mountain of problems begins: peeling paint, warped floors, stained and sagging ceilings. On top of all of this, the soggy insolation in the attic loses R-Value and becomes the perfect host for mold and mildew.

Fast Fixes for Ice Dams

If you already have ice dams, a quick way to stop the leak is to take a box fan into the attic and aim it at the underside of the roof where the water is leaking through. The cold air will freeze the water in its tracks in minutes. Do NOT hack away at the ice dams. Besides causing damage to your roof, it is dangerous for you. Also, throwing salt on the dams will cause more harm to your plants than it will affect the ice.

A more effective way to melt the ice is with panty hose and calcium chloride (yep, you read that right. I said panty hose). Fill one leg of a panty house with calcium chloride ice melter, tie it up, then lay it over the roof so it crosses the ice dam and overhangs the gutter. A long-handled garden tool may be helpful to push it into position. The calcium chloride will eventually melt through the snow and ice to create a channel for water to flow down into the gutters or off the roof.

Heated cables are a great way to prevent ice dams. Attaching them with clips along the roof’s edge in a zigzag patter will equalize your roof’s temperature preventing the ice dams from forming. Only problem with these heated cables is they must be installed before the bad weather occurs. Another helpful tool to have is a roof rake with wheels that can help you scrape off the snow from your roof without causing damage to the shingles.

Will Homeowners Insurance Cover Damage by Ice Dams?

Standard Homeowners Insurance policies do typically cover interior and exterior damage from water flowing into a house because of an ice dam. Many Homeowner Insurance policies have water damage exclusions that applies to water that comes from underground sources, such as seepage through soil or backup in pipes. Ice damage is likely not excluded from your policy because the source of the flooding is coming from your roof.

Most policies, however, will not cover ice dam or snow removal from your roof or anywhere else on your property.   Some companies may provide some ice dam removal out of “good will.” Check your policy for details

Best Solution to Preventing Ice Dams

The most permanent solution for preventing ice dams is keeping the entire roof the same temperature, which can be easier said than done. With increased ventilation, adding insolation, and sealing off all air leaks that could warm the underside of the roof, you should be able to keep the same temperature all around. Check out ThisOldHouse’s tips on taking care of roof trouble spots so you can enjoy a dam free winter.

 

Ice Dams Picture
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