Cold air and heavy snowfall are telltale signs that winter is just around the corner. You stay at home with a hot chocolate drink in hand while basking in the warm glow of the fireplace. Everything seems all perfect until a winter storm ruins your holiday fantasy.
While snowfall is the best part of winter, it can take a toll on every part of your home when exposed to the harshest conditions. In 2020, insurance company ValuePenguin surveyed how winter affected U.S. homeowners. Results show that 62% of homeowners suffered property damage.
If you live in an area that experiences heavy snowfall, give yourself a heads up. Knowing the different ways how winter negatively affects your home is a great way to prepare for the coming cold. We will also give you some tips to prevent these types of damage.
Before the winter ruins your holiday spirit, here are the common ways how the cold weather can wreak havoc on your home.
1. Leaks and Damage Caused by Melting Snow
When the snow finally melts, leakages are sure to follow. Water is the enemy of every home interior. Melting ice causes bigger problems as it pushes its way through cracks, resulting in leakages, or worse, flooding. As water runs in the house, it can compromise its structure and overall foundation.
How to fix it: If melting snow reaches your basement, check the sump pump for any issues and clear drain clogs. Immediately seal cracks and leaks the moment you notice them. You can also set up a draining system on your roof. Instead of passing through cracks, the drainage will whisk away water and prevent it from refreezing.
2. Snow Puts Stress on the Roof
Homes with flat, low-pitched roofing are often susceptible to damage during winter. The roof often takes most of the burden from falling snow. The first snowfall may not cause an issue from the get-go, but it won’t last long as the winter progresses.
Roof collapse poses a great risk to your homes, garages, and sheds. Once the snow piles up a foot or two, the roof may no longer support the added weight.
How to fix it: While car owners turn to hail damage repair services for damaged dents, homeowners hire roofing professionals. Consult a roofing expert to evaluate the situation and make necessary repairs.
If hiring a professional is not in your budget, use a roof rake to remove snow piles. Instead of climbing up the roof, you can use extension poles to pull the snow down.
3. Damaged Gutters Due to Ice Dams
Aside from your roof, even gutters cannot escape the relentless snowfall. Have you noticed icicles forming on your neighbor’s gutter? It results from ice dams due to clogged gutters and poor attic insulation. Since the water has nowhere to go, it will eventually spill over the edge of your gutter, creating icicles.
How to fix it: A sufficient attic insulation and tempered roof can prevent ice dams. Remove all debris on the gutters and downspouts to prevent water clogging. Heat cables can also protect your roof from ice dams. You can further minimize damage if you remove icicles and ice dams as soon as they appear.
4. Freezing and Bursting Pipes
Once the temperature drops low, plumbing problems such as freezing and bursting pipes are inevitable. This includes the exposed pipes in your basement and attic. If not attended, freezing pipes at risk of bursting can lead to major problems in your home.
How to fix it: Insulate your exposed pipes by using proper insulation tools, such as foam pipe insulation, heat tape, or heat cables. Drain and disconnect the hoses and sprinkler system. You can do this by blowing compressed air along the pipes.
Other preventive measures include opening the sink cabinet to let the warm air flow inside and keeping your faucet on a drip to avoid freezing.
5. Blocked or Slippery Walkways
The casualties brought by winter do not stop within your home. This includes freezing and slippery walkways resulting in injuries, such as sprains, dislocations, and even bone fractures. Even home insurance companies offer coverages for injuries related to slippery walkways.
How to fix it: Shovel right away as soon as the snow piles up. Fix the drainage system to prevent melting ice from flowing along your sidewalk. You may use a labor-saving technique by hiring a snow removal professional or buying your own snowblower.
Whether it’s a hot summer season or cold winter, your home goes through a lot of weather changes to protect you and your family. Dealing with the damage and taking proactive measures is the secret to a worry-free winter holiday.