While it is important to protect your home from water damage year-round, the potential for damage increases in the winter. Because of this, it is important that you take steps to prevent any water damage before it happens. By taking the time to go around and make the necessary repairs and reinforcements before the snow begins, you’ll be in a much better position to avoid any structural damage because of water. Water damage is very common, with 37% of homeowners claiming losses due to water damage to their homes. Follow these steps to help you avoid becoming one of them.
Insulate Pipes in Unheated Areas
You likely have pipes running through parts of your home that aren’t heated, such as porches or the basement. It is important that you wrap them securely in insulating material before it gets too cold. Otherwise, they might freeze and a frozen pipe can burst, wreaking havoc on your home. Fiberglass sleeves are a simple, popular way to keep your pipes insulated.
Seal All Exterior Cracks
Before it gets too cold, check for cracks in your exterior walls and in your foundation. Fill any that you find with caulk to keep cold air and snow from getting in. Not only will this help to keep out any moisture that might contribute to water damage, but it will also keep your home better insulated. Proper maintenance of your home’s insulation and HVAC system can save you up to 30% on your energy bill, so you get the added bonus of saving money as you protect your home.
Keep Your Temperature Above 55 Degrees
The temperature inside of your home should always be above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. While you might adjust the thermostat to be lower at night as you sleep, you never want the temperature to dip below this number. This increases the risk of your pipes freezing. Freezing can damage pipes and lead to a burst that floods your home, causing severe water damage and costing you a fortune.
Prevent Ice Dams
An ice dam is a blockage that occurs when the heat from your attic melts snow on your roof, causing it to become water that flows into the gutter and freezes. If too much ice freezes on your roof, it causes a buildup of snow and ice that can leak through your roof and damage it. You can prevent ice dams by keeping your gutters clear and raking snow off your roof when it is safe to do so.
Shovel Snow Away From Your Foundation
When the spring thaw starts to arrive, the snow will begin to melt. The average lawn requires one inch of water weekly. This thaw will bring much more of it into the ground, which will quickly get saturated. If there is snow along your home’s foundation, it can seep into your basement and cause water damage.
Know How to Turn Off Your Water
This is useful information at any time. If a pipe bursts, you have a matter of seconds to keep the flowing water from flooding your house. If you don’t know how to shut off your water, you’ll waste valuable time trying to find out how to do so. Before winter begins, everyone in your house should know where the main water valve is located and how to shut it off. This can help you prevent the worst of the damage from occurring.
Water damage in the winter can cost you a lot of time and money to repair. Protect your home by following these tips. With some preparation ahead of time, you can avoid having to deal with water damage this winter.