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What to Do When Hudson Valley Weather Throws Ice at You.

Frozen may work for Queen Elsa in the Pixar movie of the same name, but for us mere mortals, ice can register anywhere from frustrating to down right deadly on our “What I Hate About Winter” list. Unless you are strapping on skates right now, you might want to note here some ways to avoid frozen water problems.

Go look at your roof. If there’s no snow on the shingles but snow on the overhangs, you’re a candidate for ice dams. When a home has a poorly insulated roof, it will melt the snow on it. The resulting water hits cold overhanging gutters and freezes if it’s below freezing outside (32 degrees F, 0 degrees C). The result is an ice dam, which backs up water onto and under the shingles. You’ll notice it when it starts dripping in the house. Avoid ice dams by Insulating your roof adequately. It it has already snowed, remove snow from the roof as soon as it falls. Use a roof rake or hire a professional keep your shingles clear and your gutters safe.

Unfortunately we don’t have Elsa’s ability to make frozen things such as frozen water pipes thaw with an act of true love. When the weather gets cold like it did recently in the Hudson Valley, you can check your pipes by running your faucets on hot and cold to see if water is flowing properly. For those with hot water heat, cold radiators in your home or its zones can indicate a blocked flow of water caused by frozen pipes. To avoide frozen pipes at home, keep your home no colder than 64 degrees. Insulate any pipes that traverse unheated places in your home (crawl spaces, attics etc.) with pipe insulation or heat tape.

If your pipes are frozen, first, shut off all water leading into your water system to prevent or aleviate water damage. Then call a plumber to locate and aleviate the problem. If you do decide to melt ice in a faucet or pipe, use a hair dryer, not an electrical heater or open flame.

You’re in a hurry, and your car windscreen is covered in ice. You have to GO! Don’t be tempted to douse it with a bucket of hot water. Scalding water may cause your windscreen to crack because of the temperature difference. And if you have any annoying little “dings” from gravel or stones in your glass, hot water may find its way in and re-freeze, causing those dings to grow and be even more annoying. Get out the scraper and put your back into it!

DON’T try to clear ice or snow with the windshield wipers. If they are frozen to the glass, you may succeed in bending the axle of the windshield wiper motor. These motors are much more powerful than many people realize, and can easily bend the connecting arms. Prevent this by leaving wiper blades in their “up” position off the glass when freezing rain or heavy wet snow are in the forecast.

Driving in winter can be a challenge, so don’t assume the road ahead of you is clear enough for posted speeds. Black ice can hide under a freshly fallen coating of the white stuff. Keep a steady speed and drive below the posted limits when roads are icy or the threat of ice is possible.

For more information or questions about this article, contact Vanessa Saunders, CEO and Principle Broker, GPS Real Estate.