How to Protect Your Home from Winter Water Damage

Winter is coming, and there’s no time like the present to prepare! Many homeowners think about holiday gatherings, gift exchanges, and time off at this time of year, but many may overlook one of the most vital aspects of the season — home preparation.

3 Common Causes of Water Damage

Water damage resulting from neglect or surprise plumbing problems is a nuisance even when the damage is minor, but major damage can derail your entire holiday. There are many ways to prep your home for winter weather, but it’s important to identify potential problem areas before the worst of the cold weather hits.

Common problem areas include:

  • Roof – Ice dams formed due to clogged gutters can cause accumulated water to seep into your attic, which can lead to serious water damage.
  • Foundation – Your home’s foundation has many cracks, holes, and gaps, which are all areas for snow, ice, and water to seep in, then freeze and expand to cause even greater damage.
  • Windows and doors – Excess moisture is one of the most common causes of water damage. Like your foundation, gaps and cracks between the glass and frame of your window can allow excess moisture to seep in and add humidity to your home. Gaps under your doors can also pose the same issue.

While there are many potential sources of water damage, there are also many ways to prevent water damage from taking over your holiday season.

How to Protect Your Home from Winter Water Damage

Preparing your home for winter can include many things: Putting up holiday lights, wrapping presents, and sharing family traditions with loved ones make take precedence, but be sure to carve out some time to complete these tasks:

Winterize Plumbing

Burst pipes are one of the most aggressive sources of winter water damage. Most of your home’s plumbing is located in walls and other insulated areas. However, some spaces in your home may have exposed plumbing where pipes are in the open air and at the mercy of the elements. Common areas homes may have exposed plumbing include:

  • Outside faucets or spigots
  • Basement
  • Garage
  • Under kitchen and bathroom cabinets
  • Crawlspace
  • And more!

When the water freezes, it expands, then contracts again as it melts back into liquid form. Water inside a pipe can expand too much and cause a split or burst in your pipe. Then, when the weather warms up, and the pipes thaw out, you’re left with a leak.

Prevent burst pipes at home by adding insulation to exposed plumbing. You can purchase foam sleeves to cover pipes or DIY a solution by wrapping old newspaper around exposed plumbing.

Set Your Roof Up for Success

Your roof is one of the most important aspects of your home, but it can also be the source of some of the most expensive and hard-to-tackle problems. Forgetting or neglecting to clean the gutters out this fall can result in an ice dam. Ice dams form when water is unable to flow down and out of gutters. Instead of safely flowing away from your home, it gets stuck on the leaves, twigs, and other debris left in gutters and freezes in place. Over time, the ice grows and grows, eventually resulting in a large blockage of ice on and around your roof.

When these large blocks of ice start to melt, they do so over the same areas of your roof day after day — eventually resulting in some moisture seeping into your attic. Excess moisture and/or leaks in uninhabited areas of your home may lead to more insidious forms of water damage and can also cause mold and mildew growth.

Schedule a roof inspection before winter weather sets in and clean out all gutters to prevent ice dams from forming in the first place.

Even if you do everything right, freak accidents and general wear and tear on your home appliances and major systems can leave you struggling with water damage. The restoration experts at TLC Drain & Sewer can help you dry out and get your holiday season back on track. Contact us online or by phone 24/7 to schedule an appointment or request emergency service.


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