It’s been bitterly cold here in Colorado, we’ve been getting hammered with snow and frigid temperatures. We’re breaking records on how much snow and cold temps were experiencing and even though I’m a big fan of breaking most records, this is a record breaking I’d be happy to see go away. These cold temperatures are not just sticking around a lot longer but they’re putting a lot of strain on our houses. Homes are vulnerable to these freezing temperatures that can cause a lot of damage. The best way to combat big problems that need costly fixes is to take preventative measures to stay on top of the issues that can become a big, expensive headache.
Let’s take a look at some ways we can prepare our homes for fluctuations in weather during the winter moths.
There are several things that can go wrong during the winter months like loose shingles from wind, ice dams leading to roof leaks, freezing pipes, water damage and icicles putting stress on your roof. All of these can be prevented and if we take a few measures during the warmer months we can prevent many, if not all these issues from happening once the weather gets cold. Sometimes no matter how hard you try to stay a head of the game, things will happen during the winter months and you’ll have some work to do once the weather warms back up but, you can help lessen the damage by taking some extra precautions.
Issues and concerns that can occur during freezing temperatures:
When snow and Ice build up they can cause a dam by blocking gutters. To prevent ice dams there are a few steps you can take before the weather gets cold. Clean out gutters of any debris, check gutters regularly to get rid of dangerous amounts of ice, use a deicing agent or heated gutter cables to prevent further build up.
When the snow and ice start the first thing we think of is shoveling and using Ice melt/salts to help deice our driveways but, these can cause damage. Check your driveway every spring and fix big issues so they don’t get worse with the colder weather. Prevent some damage by using rubber bladed shovels and sand on your driveways instead of sharp metal or intense salts and deicers.
Heavy ice can cause tree limbs to break and fall onto siding, roof and power lines, this can cause big problems for you as a homeowner. To prevent damage from falling or weighted down limbs, stay on top of your pruning during the spring.
Pipes can freeze and burst when the temperatures drop below freezing. Prevent this catastrophe from occurring in your home by opening all doors and cabinets to allow warm air to circulate through out your home and to the pipes. Sometimes turning your taps on to a slow drip will be enough to prevent your pipes from freezing. You can also use heat tape or foam pipe insulation on your exposed pipes to protect them from below freezing temperatures.
Just like driveways the materials used to deice can cause damage to your steps, too. Loose bricks, cracks and crumbling concrete can be a big safety concern for your family, visitors or delivery drivers. Look for less harmful solutions instead of ice melt or salts and use a rubber tipped shovel to prevent additional damage.
Although basement leaks can happen anytime of year, it can be a horrible, unexpected surprise during the winter. Most don’t think about having basement leaks in the winter but they’re more common than expected because snow and ice try to push their way into your basement through cracks. Check your sump pump to make sure it’s working correctly and keep on top of clearing debris from drains before storms. Most sump pumps have a hose that carries water away from your house. If this hose gets clogged with ice or freezes it can cause flooding and water damage to your home. Keep ahead of the storms and winterize your sump pump properly to avoid any potential problems. Remove the extension hose when weather dips to freezing.
Siding is installed with the idea that it will expand and contract throughout the year. This doesn’t mean that your siding will survive all extreme weather conditions without any failures. Siding cracks can cause structural damage due to expansion and leaks. Keep an eye on your siding and replace and repair any problems during warmer weather.
One of the worst scenarios for homeowners could be a concrete foundation crack. This is as bad as it gets for homeowners. This is an issue in colder weather because when the ground freezes and melts again – known as the frost heave cycle – it can cause the soil to move and shift under your home. This shifting and moving will put a strain on your concrete foundation which leads to some foundations cracking. Good measures for homeowners to take to prevent a foundation crack include fixing drainage issues in your yard, repairing cracks in your foundation and waterproofing your basement. These measures won’t always prevent your foundation from cracking but it will give you the best chances of never having to deal with this big headache.
Living in cold weather climates can be a challenge when you’re a homeowner but, the pay off of having all 4 seasons and winter activities are worth it to many people. You shouldn’t have to be afraid of home ownership in winter weather just because of the nightmare stories you’ve heard from other homeowners about costly home fixes due to shifting soil causing foundation cracks or ice dams causing roof and siding leaks. You just have to be prepared for the freezing temps when the weather changes. If you take the time to inspect your gutters, siding, trees and sump pumps and take action to prepare your home for the freezing temperatures, you can have a stress free winter.
Having the right homeowners policy can be a big help if you run into any issues, if you would like to have a conversation with one of our agents about the coverages we can offer contact us today.