Protecting Your Home From Winter Water Damage
We all find ways to adequately prepare for the winter months. With snow, cold, and darker days ahead of us, it’s important to take all the right precautions in order to have a safe, enjoyable winter. While we never forget to pull out the warm coats, gloves, and hats, it can be easy to forget that your home also needs the right protection from the cold and snow. Much like we change the tires on our car or make sure our sidewalk is shoveled, take some time to properly prep your house against the snow (and thus water) to avoid those dreaded disasters.
There are a surprising number of natural, easy ways to prevent common home issues such as frozen pipes and mold, and taking the right steps now can save yourself from future water damage-related headaches in the future.
B-Brr It’s Cold Outside!
Frozen pipes are a common, albeit potentially disastrous problem during the colder months. Frozen pipes can lead to a number of issues if not taken care of, including restriction of running water — which means no water for showers, laundry, or drinking — and your pipes can even rupture, causing a lot of costly damage.
According to plumbing experts, pipes most vulnerable to freezing include those that run through unheated interior spaces like in the basement, garage, attic, crawl space, and under your kitchen sink. With that in mind, it’s obvious why it’s important to avoid rupturing your pipes.
They go on to explain a few measures you can take to avoid frozen pipes:
- Keep the thermostat to 55 degrees or higher, even when you leave for a few days.
- Keep the doors inside open so warm air can circulate throughout the entire house, as well as cabinet doors so heat can reach the pipes below the sink.
- If plumbing runs through your garage, basement, or crawlspace, it’s vital to keep these areas above freezing, so seal and insulate exterior walls as best you can.
- Wrap electrical heating tape around exposed pipes in the garage, basement, or crawlspace.
- Drain the water system if you’re leaving for a while (no water = less risk for ice).
Prevention is key, and it doesn’t cost much to practice some of these easy, everyday habits.
The Dreaded Mold Problem
Mold is another common but dangerous household issue in the winter. With all the moisture from the snow, frost, and fog, it’s important to take extra steps against mold in your house. Much like with frozen pipes, a change in habits can really make a huge difference. First, you’ll want to ensure proper ventilation throughout your home. Stale air is the perfect breeding and development condition for mold, and it’s easy to keep all the windows and doors closed tight during the winter.
While it seems counter intuitive to lowering your heating bill to open a window during winter, a brief and breezy session once a day can help keep the air in your home flowing. Another important step is to try and reduce condensation. Beyond drying any noticeable condensation on windows, panels, and pipes right away, try to keep the indoor temperature a bit higher and reduce the humidity in the house as best as you can.
Frequent cleanings can also reduce your chances of mold as well as having your home properly inspected every now and then. Mold is easier to deal with if you catch it early on (like most things), so it never hurts to start those good habits now.
Not for a Lack of Trying
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, disaster still strikes. Water damage is, unfortunately, a rather expensive home disaster. It can damage walls, ceilings, and floors. The most important steps to take are those that can help reduce the damage and keep you safe.
The quick tips you need to know for minimizing water damage are:
- Contact a water damage repair specialist to help stop the damage from getting even worse.
- Protect yourself from stray voltage, which is common in water damage situations with proper gloves and boots.
- Disconnect the power, unplug any electronics, and remove electronics as safely as possible.
- Move vulnerable items like books and rugs and place your heavier furniture on blocks of wood.
- Get rid of as much water possible with a pump or other automated water removal, or try to do what you can with buckets, mops, and towels.
Another thing worth considering in order to reduce the overall restoration costs is DIYing some of the repairs. Hardwood floors, for instance, can peel up after water damage. Luckily, you can replace the damaged planks rather than your entire floor, making this home repair job one of the easier ones. It also helps that there are a ton of useful resources, videos, advice, etc. on the internet these days to help you restore your home after disaster strikes.
You can also find videos on how to thaw your frozen pipes, replace water-damaged doors, or even replace the insulation in your attic. Of course you don’t want to make matters worse so if you’re not confident about your skills, you can always bring in the experts. However, if you’re up to it, you can save a lot of money and resources tackling some of these problems yourself.
Remember, with each new season comes a new set of potential problems. You take the extra steps each day to stay warm, comfortable, and well prepared against the cold, and it’s important to extend those practices to your home as well. Good luck!
Is your home protected from winter water damage? Do you have any helpful suggestions on tips that will help protect your home from the harsh winter weather – if so please leave them in the comment section?
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