You know it’s coming. Sleet, snow and wind chills of 10 below.

And with the frightful weather sometimes disaster happens and there’s damage to your home. On top of disrupting your lives, the cost of repairs can run into thousands of dollars. And while insurance covers these costs, you often still have to pay the deductible.

There’s nothing you can do to change the weather. But with regular maintenance in the fall, you can sometimes avoid winter storm damage. With advance preparation and planning, you could probably accomplish most of these tasks in a couple of afternoons or on a Saturday. In the long run, doing so can save you hundreds of dollars – maybe more – and the inconvenience (dare we say misery) that you could have as the result of winter storm damage.

Here are a few suggestions

Store away everything that’s not nailed down 

Outdoor furniture, children’s play equipment, decorative flower pots, and even holiday decorations – remove as soon after the holidays as possible. Additionally, it is a good idea to inspect your home and repair loose shingles, shutters and gutter pipes to avoid wind damage.

According to Insurance.com, the average wind damage insurance claim is $7000. But that’s nothing compared to the inconvenience of having your children’s trampoline picked up and thrown through the family-room window by a nasty Nor’easter.

Trim trees and remove dead branchesWinter Storm Damage, like a tree splitting in your yard, is an expensive repair

If you live in a wooded area or have large trees in your yard, this is one area where it makes sense to hire a professional to inspect your trees every few years.

The cost of tree trimming and removal varies depending on your location, the size of the tree, and its accessibility.

One thing is sure - it will be more convenient and less expensive to do it in the fall than when the weight of a massive winter snow has caused it to puncture your roof.

Insulate and protect your pipes

The average insurance claim paid out on a frozen and burst water pipe is $7,479. The cost of prevention is minimal.

Use sleeve-style pipe insulation to protect all visible pipes in basements, attics, crawl spaces, and garages, and add insulation batting between pipes and outer walls wherever possible.

During your walk around the house, look for open areas that could be letting cold air inside. Use caulk and insulation to plug holes and seal leaks around electrical wiring, pipes, and dryer vents. Remember, both PVC and copper pipes are susceptible to cold air, and even tiny openings can cause a pipe to freeze and crack. According to the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness, a crack of just 1/8 of an inch can leak up to 250 gallons of water a day.

There’s nothing you can do about the weather. But you can prepare. And now you know how to prevent some of the most common winter storm damage issues. Save yourself expense and aggravation with preventative maintenance. And then rest assured that if worse comes to worse and disaster happens, Action Restoration is available 24/7 to help you deal with the damage.