Cold Weather Home Damage and How to Avoid It
When cold weather strikes, it often brings with it high winds, heavy sleet and snowfall, freezing temperatures and slick, icy roads and sidewalks. By the time the average winter cold front has blown through, many areas may have lost power, suffered through frozen or bursting water pipes or even had structural damage from the weight of all that piled-up snow.
While homeowners insurance can often help with repair costs, submitting a claim, getting work bids and having the work done can be a time-consuming, not to mention stressful and costly (especially if you have a high deductible) process. It is much easier to simply avoid exposing your home to cold weather damage unnecessarily.
In this post, learn about the different types of damage cold weather can cause and how to make sure this type of damage doesn’t impact your home.
4 Most Common Types of Cold Weather Home Damage
If asked, you probably wouldn’t have any trouble reciting a list of common winter weather dangers. Chances are also good these four very common types of damage would be in your list:
– Frozen or bursting water pipes. This can cause extensive flooding as well as dangerous drain backup from the sewer or septic system.
– Roof damage. Falling tree limbs or sheer weight of piled-up snow can damage shingles or even cause the roof to cave in.
– Furnace or boiler failure. When your furnace or boiler tries to combat temperatures below those it was created to combat, it may fail, leading to expensive repairs or a total replacement.
– Ice dams in gutters or downspouts. Frozen snow, sleet or ice can build up in the gutters, under the eaves and in the downspouts. When it melts is when the damage begins as water seeps into your attic and floods your walls, damaging drywall, paint, insulation and more.
How to Cold-Prep Your Home
These cold-preparation tips will help you to avoid the discomfort of having to go without power, heat or clean water this winter.
Tip 1: Insulate, wrap and drip your pipes.
If necessary, bring in a professional plumber to assess the condition of your pipes.
Otherwise, you can follow these steps to guard against frozen/burst pipes:
– Find the main water shutoff valve (just in case).
– Wrap all exposed pipes that you can reach.
– Insulate water spigots (foam domes work well).
– Drip your faucets to keep water moving through your pipes.
Tip 2: Clean out your gutters and downspouts.
Your goal here is to remove debris that could contribute to ice dams and interior home flooding. Just go ahead and clean out fallen leaves, dirt and other debris and make sure your downspouts are clear.
Tip 3: Seal up cracks and weatherstrip windows and doors.
Here, you want to keep as much warm air inside your home as possible. This reduces the workload on your heating system, which then reduces the possibility of a breakdown just when you need heat the most.
Tip 4: Trim away nearby tree branches, check your roof shingles and do any repairs that may be needed.
Before winter arrives in earnest, you want the tiles on your roof firmly in place and secure. Any weak nearby tree limbs should be pruned back for the same reason.
By following these helpful tips, you will be able to enjoy winter free from worries about home damage.