RICHMOND—Before Old Man Winter arrives, make sure your home is prepared for freezing temperatures and inclement weather. Freezes can cause water pipes to burst, and the weight of snow and ice can cause extensive damage to roofs. “Take steps to prevent damage to your home this winter season,” said Sam Rooks, vice president of underwriting and policy services for Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. Homeowners “need to take precautions to avoid damage and make sure they have the insurance coverage they need should a loss occur.” The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, of which VFBMIC is a member, offers plenty of winter weather tips on its website at disastersafety.org/ibhs-risks-freezing-weather . The institute notes that it’s important to ensure a roof can handle the weight of potential ice or snow. Removing snow as soon as it piles onto the roof can prevent damages. To prevent damage from ice dams—ridges of ice that form at the edge of a roof and prevent melting snow from draining—increase insulation above ceilings. Keep all drains, scuppers, gutters and downspouts free of debris and vegetation that could cause water to pool. To prevent frozen pipes, keep all entries to unheated spaces closed as much as possible. When extreme cold weather is predicted, let all faucets drip to prevent freezing water inside the pipes. Leave cabinets open, or use a fan to increase warm air circulation around interior pipes that are adjacent to exterior walls. Insulate all pipes, and ensure all cracks, holes and other openings on exterior walls are tightly sealed with caulk or insulation. Media: Contact Sara Owens , VFBF communications, at 804-290-1133.