How to Prevent Winter Damage to Your Home
Depending on where you live, the winter months can be particularly harsh. Cold winds, ice, sleet, and snow aren't only inconvenient but can cause significant damage to your home as well. The following represent some of the things you can do to prevent winter property damage.
Check for Ice Dams
When it rains or snows in cold weather, ice dams tend to form on houses. When water runs down a roof because of the heat of a house, it gets to the edge and can refreeze with fluctuating temperatures. When the temperatures stay cold, that runoff continues to build up around the edges of the house. The ice will eventually stop the water from properly running off of your home, causing it to build up on the roof. When this happens, the water ends up causing either more ice accumulation or roof leaks.
Ice dams have been know to cause thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of damage to homes each year. You can avoid them by making sure your gutters stay clean, by insulating your attic to prevent your heat from warming the roof, and by installing gutter guards.
How Ice Dams Form
Watch for Heavy Snow
During heavy snow storms, snow can accumulate in areas that are unable to support it. If you have a high roof, the snow may build up on the downwind side. If this happens, you'll need to contact a roofing company for help removing the snow. Attempting to do so yourself could result in injury if you are hit from heavy loads of falling snow.
Heavy snow can also cause flooding. Make sure your window wells and exterior stairwells are free of snow accumulation. While it may not seem like a problem initially, that snow may leak into your home as it melts, causing more damage.
Drafts in the Home
While not actual damage, drafty windows and doors can cause you secondary damage by allowing your heat to escape. When this happens, your utility bills are bound to rise. You can avoid this by caulking your windows, making sure your door sweeps are secure, and by replacing old hardware that allows drafts through.
Frozen pipes can cause a ton of damage, whether you're in the midst of an actual storm or not. When pipes freeze, there is usually water inside. The water expands and causes cracks in the pipes. If the frozen water causes pressure to build up, the pipe could end up bursting completely.
You can prevent frozen pipes by keeping the pipes warm. You can do this by insulating them, ensuring there are no cracks in the foundation near your pipes that will allow cold air to come into direct contact, and by leaving your faucets running at a trickle during times when you have no heat or power (like in a storm).
The winter months are amazing - enjoyable, even - but can cause a ton of damage if ignored. Take a few preventative measures to keep your home safe and you'll end up saving yourself thousands in repairs.
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