According to the Insurance Information Institute, winter storms caused roughly $3.5 billion worth of damage in 2015. But it doesn’t take a massive blizzard or sheet of ice to cause damage to your home. In many cases, damage is caused by the prolonged nature of winter: cold weather and icy conditions.
Cold weather, and the resulting freeze, cause complications with water. Slick conditions, of course, call for salt on the sidewalks and roads, creating potential rust damage for cars. Did you know salt can harm your home as well?
Fortunately, there are some simple, effective steps you can take to protect your home from water and salt damage this winter.
One of the largest concerns during the winter is frozen pipes. When water in the pipes freezes, it will expand, bursting the pipe and causing significant water damage, usually in the basement. It’s essential that you maintain a warm temperature in your home at all times, even in an unoccupied basement. If you leave for a warm-weather vacation, make sure the home is set to a warm temperature and have a friend or family member check the house to make sure the furnace is working properly. Most experts recommend maintaining at least 55 degrees in the home to ensure warm pipes all year.
It’s well known that road salt can damage your vehicle, but salt, dragged in by winter boots, can wreak havoc on your floors as well, especially if you have wood flooring or natural stone tiles. Keep a mat near every entryway and make sure family members are removing their boots and shoes before they enter the main area. If any water is pooling on your floors, wipe it as soon as possible with an old towel or rag. You may also want to increase your floor-cleaning efforts, going from once a week to two or three times weekly.
An ice dam is the ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof which prevents melting snow from draining as it should. Ice dams in roof gutters can cause significant problems to the structure of the home. They not only weigh down the gutters, they can result in seepage into the attic space. The first step should have been done in autumn, keeping gutters free of debris that could block flow. In winter, safely knock down any ice build up to prevent stress on the gutters, and if needed hire a professional to remove excess snow and ice that could cause a problem. Make sure the bottom of the drain pipes are clear of ice so any water can work its way to ground level.
Look on the bright side! Eventually, the weather will warm and all that ice and snow will melt away. Unfortunately, this creates a deluge of water that can be similar to a massive rainstorm, especially if the warm weather comes abruptly.
Snow will eventually melt and much of it will soak into the ground. Any snow near your home is likely to dampen the surrounding soil, which could lead to seepage in the basement. Continually keep ice and snow away from windows, especially lower-level windows, and monitor gutters for any obstructions. Don’t let snow and ice pile up around the home and you’ll be less likely to have water damage in the spring.
Put a reliable handyman to work for you home this winter!
From maintenance and repairs to weatherproofing, New Outlooks Construction will make sure your home is in top condition all year long.