image How to Protect Your Home from Common Wintertime Damage

How to Protect Your Home from Common Wintertime Damage

Protecting your home from potential damage in the winter requires remembering three rules:

  1. Water expands when it freezes
  2. Water expands when it freezes
  3. Water expands when it freezes

Once you commit these to memory, you’re ready to go. Here’s how to apply them in keeping your home safe from damage during the winter.

Drain Outdoor Pipes

The most common consequence of rules 1–3 is bursting pipes, and it is usually the most disastrous. Garden hoses, spigots, and pipes that run through cold areas like attics are all vulnerable to freezing. If the water in a garden hose freezes, the freeze can back up into your house and cause the interior pipe to burst, flooding your home with water.

Drain all hoses and disconnect them from outside spigots. Buy some pipe insulators (generally around $2 for a six-foot length) and wrap them around pipes and spigots in unheated interior spaces. Always know where the interior shutoff valve is.

Caulk Liberally

One quick, crucial project to complete before cold weather arrives is caulking. Grab a caulk gun and a couple tubes of silicone caulk, and apply a bead to any gaps in your home’s exterior. When water works its way into these gaps and then freezes, the resulting expansion can damage the siding and widen the crack.

Empty Gutters and Insulate Your Attic

Your gutters need to be clear of leaves and debris so that water can flow freely through them — otherwise, you risk ice dams. An ice dam is another destructive winter phenomenon that occurs when rooftop snow melts and runs down to your gutters, where it freezes again during the night. This causes a backup of ice that can work its way under the edge of your roofing, leading to costly damage.

Ice dams are also exacerbated by a warm roof. If heat leaks into your attic, it will warm your roof and speed the melting/refreezing process. Fill any gaps in your attic’s floor insulation to prevent this.

Don’t Let Too Much Snow Accumulate on Your Roof

If you notice an alarming amount of snow collecting on your roof, grab a long-handled snow rake and clear it off. This will prevent excessive strain on your roof rafters. Alternatively, you can contact a roofing professional to clear the snow off for you. Always be alert to any popping or cracking noises when there is a snow load on your roof.

Maintain Your Heater and Chimney

While this tip is a departure from rules 1–3, it is crucial for your safety and the efficiency of your heating. Have a professional come and inspect your chimney and furnace at the start of winter. Replacing filters on your heating system will allow the system to operate on far less energy, and cleaning your chimney will reduce the risk of a potentially deadly chimney fire.

Stay warm and keep your house safe this winter!

Works Cited

“How to Prevent 4 Common Wintertime Problems in Your Home.” TotalProtect Home Warranty Blog, Cross Country Home Services. Inc.