When winter rolls around, you might think your home’s off the hook as far as water damage goes. After all, when the ground is frozen, how much ice and snow can actually melt and get into your home? Isn’t that a springtime problem?
While you may not be dealing with the dreaded flooded basement as the weather cools down, potential water damage still lurks, and it’s up to you as a homeowner to prevent it. Rest assured, though, that CCS Cleaning & Restoration has got your back, though—both with our emergency water clean-up services and the informational post below, which details a few common causes of winter water damage you may contend with.
Water Damage Can Come From Burst Pipes
They’re a wintertime Minnesotan menace and the bane of plumbing systems across the state: burst pipes. These happen when ice and cold somehow damages your plumbing, resulting in a breakage. A failure to insulate properly in cold spots like crawlspaces and attics can cause this, as well as failure to properly winterize plumbing that will not be in use this season. Sometimes, too, age and excessive water pressure can play a role.
How to Prevent it
You’re never fully safe from the risk of a burst pipe, but it’s especially high in winter with the added threat of ice and cold. Thus, be sure to take precautions against these two factors. This means using heat tape and insulation in areas where plumbing that’s in use is likely to freeze, as well as fully draining pipes that lead to exterior spigots.
Regular checkups with a certified plumber also help greatly. Since plumbing is often a complicated house-wide network, the average homeowner will have trouble monitoring it for issues. Preventative maintenance is always more affordable than a plumbing overhaul, and it’s also worth it not to have to deal with the water damage.
Finally, be prepared. The more quickly you act during a critical situation, the more you can minimize water damage. Check out our restoration services blog, “Five Emergency Water Damage Tips” to get a head start on making your emergency plan.
Fend Off Ice Dams
Since water, like everything, is subject to gravity, it may come to your surprise that water damage can actually rain down from above in the winter—and not in the literal form of rain! Ice dams are structures that form in the winter on rooftops. Caused by a variety of factors, including uneven roof heating or poor roof ventilation, they are composed of a ridge of ice with standing water backed up behind them. Said water seeps through your shingles, leaking into your attic and compromising its wooden fixtures. Check out the UMN Extension’s article on them for a more in-depth look.
How to Prevent Them
Going into wintertime with clean gutters is the best way to keep ice ridges off of your roof. Unfettered gutters allow meltwater from your roof to flow down into the ground, while clogs encourage puddling and thus freezing. Though seasonal cleaning is often the recommendation from exterior contractors, you may need to do multiple passes if you live in a tree-heavy area.
Proper roofing ventilation is also essential for roof temperature management, which in turn affects ice dam formation. A checkup with your roofer is the best way to determine if your roof is ready for winter, as all roofs are built differently and require different levels of ventilation. That being said, clearing insulation away from pre-existing roof vents is a good place to start when it comes to giving the structure some “breathing room.” Check out this article from SFGate for a helpful how-to!
Though springtime has the reputation for being the most melt-heavy time of year, don’t discount Minnesota’s chaotic freeze-thaw cycle. Snow sometimes melts in place of sticking around, resulting in a constant force that your foundation and basement must endure. Though homes in this state are built with toughness at the forefront, you still may find yourself in need of water damage repair if you aren’t prepared.
How to Prevent it
You can’t control the weather, but you can control how it affects your home. Make sure your foundation is crack-free before the first snow to stop water from seeping in. Secondly, consider a sump pump as an affordable preventative measure. Such an appliance pumps groundwater away from your home after it flows into its specially-made pit, thus keeping your basement dry.
CCS Cleaning & Restoration: Your Professional Partner in Water Damage Repair
With emergency and standard services both a simple phone call away, your home will be kept safe during all four seasons. Give our Faribault office a call today at 507-334-1774.