Winter is approaching fast. Is your home ready for the snow, ice, and freezing temperatures?
Without proper preparation, you put your home and property at risk of damage caused by winter’s freezing conditions. So if you don’t want to risk having to call a repair service in the middle of a sub-zero winter, here’s how winter can damage your home:
1. Cracked pavement
Hot weather makes concrete expand while cold weather makes it shrink, and these changes in concrete’s structure cause it to crack. In the winter, it is common to see cracks and gaps in the concrete due to the drastic change in temperature. If you spot any cracks in the paving on your driveways, walkways, garage, or anywhere else on your property, seal them right away with a concrete sealant.
2. Damaged roof
Heavy snowfall can cause piles of snow to accumulate on your roof, which, in turn, can cause shingle damage, stress on supporting walls, a leaking roof, and even roof collapse. To prevent this from happening, ensure that you’ve cleaned off last season’s debris from your roof before the snow starts to fall. When snowfall starts, keep an eye on your roof to make sure that the amount of snow is not exceeding the roof’s maximum load weight. If the snow starts getting a little too thick, use a rake to take off snow from the roof or hire professionals to do it for you.
3. Fallen gutters
Excessive accumulation of ice and debris can easily make gutters deteriorate, especially when the temperature drops fast enough to form large amounts of ice on the roof. When left ignored, sagging gutters can fall off entirely and cause an even bigger problem for your house’s exteriors. To avoid this type of damage, look out for parts of your gutter system that start to sag from the roof, and remove debris and ice from them as soon as possible.
4. Frozen pipes
When the temperature drops, unprotected water pipes in your house can freeze and sometimes even burst, which leaves you with no running water in the house. Don’t want to end up not being able to take a warm shower in the middle of a winter’s day? Prevent your pipes from freezing by allowing heat to circulate properly in your home and insulating your water pipes adequately.
If a pipe freezes despite insulation and circulation of warm air, thaw the ice as soon as possible to keep water flowing. On the other hand, if a pipe bursts, turn off the water supply valve and call for professional help.
5. Cracked plaster
Similar to concrete, plaster walls can also crack due to the drastic change in temperature during the winter (low humidity and dry air). You can prevent hairline cracks from forming in your plaster walls by keeping the temperature and humidity inside the house consistent. Although this is not a fool-proof solution, keeping the interior temperature and humidity constant can help minimize the damage.
6. Broken HVAC
The last thing you want to happen in the middle of winter is to have your HVAC system die on you. If you don’t want to end up freezing your socks off due to non-functional heating, have your unit inspected before winter, mainly if you don’t perform regular preventative maintenance for the rest of the year.
If the inspection reveals a problem within your system, you can have it repaired before winter comes and avoid the risk of your HVAC failing when you need it the most.
7. Falling branches
When snow accumulates on nearby trees, the weight of it can make branches snap off and possibly cause damage to your property. If there are trees around your house, remove branches that are hanging too close to minimize the risk of a falling branch damaging any part of your home or nearby electrical lines.
8. Gas leak
Winter winds can blow out pilot lights in the oven and furnace, and when this happens, you can be put at risk for a devastating explosion if the gas comes in contact with a flame. Thus, make it a point to check your oven and furnace from time to time, especially after a particularly windy day.
If the pilot light is out, ask a professional to determine the cause and eliminate the possibility of a gas leak.
Winter is perhaps the worst season for your house, increasing the risk of damage more than any other time of the year. If you live in a place where the winters can be harsh, thorough preparation can help you minimize or even eliminate the risk of damage to your property, so don’t skimp on proper winter-proofing.