What causes water damage in the winter and how can you avoid it?

Water damage in winter can be tough to avoid. When temperatures plummet, pipes can freeze and burst to cause water damage to your home. Leaks can also go undetected, causing damage to floors, walls, furniture, artwork, and more. How can you prevent water damage to your home not only in winter but year-round? 

  1. Install a device to alert you of water leaks. Even the smallest leak can cause major damage if undetected and untreated. There are various detectors that can be purchased and will sound an alarm at the presence of any moisture. Homeowners typically install these devices near water heaters, dishwashers, or refrigerators. These alarms will send an alert directly to your smartphone, signaling a potential leak! If your home is wired with the correct “smart sensors,” it will even shut off your water automatically to protect your home from major water damage until you can call a professional to repair the leak.
  2. Check your water supply before winter hits hard. Your home should be checked thoroughly once a year. Inspect all water supply lines, washing machine hoses, and hoses to appliances for signs of wear. Your hot water heater, washing machine, ice maker, and any other appliances that can potentially leak are great targets. Check hoses thoroughly for cracks and leaks; also be aware of the connections on each hose as well.
  3. Watch your sewage backup systems. With heavy rain and melting snow, your sump pump and sewers may work overtime. Ensure that your gutters are clear, drains are draining properly, and your sump pump works as it should. You can test these items by pouring a bucket of water into each of them and verifying they drain quickly and fully.
  4. Protect your pipes from freezing. While you can’t prevent the weather from getting cold, you can keep your pipes warm. Insulation can be placed on accessible pipes that can be found in attics and crawl spaces. Warmers can be placed near pipes when you are home to prevent freezing, and once again, a smart detector can be installed to watch for low temperatures. Your phone can alert you to dropping temperatures if you are not near your home, allowing you to call in a professional to ensure your home is safe and secure from any burst pipes.

During the winter the biggest, and most common issues that we see causing water damage are burst pipes, blocked gutters, and outside precipitation.

As we’ve already discussed, burst pipes are common place when temperatures dip below freezing, especially if you live in an area where temperatures tend to stay colder for long periods of time. Typically the pipes that burst tend to be those that are not insulated and that are exposed to the elements. This is why insulating pipes is so important!

Utilize pipe sleeves, or even newspapers help to keep pipes warm and water from freezing. If pipes are indoors, keep the temperatures as warm as possible around them, and keep it consistent. Even if you are not actively in the home, maintain a constant temperature by investing in a “smart” thermometer that can be controlled through your phone. You can also install detectors that will keep you notified of any leaks or water issues that may pop up due to leaky pipes. 

Gutters must be cleaned and cleared before winter.

There is no way around it – gutters keep the water running away from your home. When gutters are blocked, the water freezes inside them and has no place to escape. This can cause major weight on your roof and ice build-ups, leading to cave-ins. It can also cause major water damage when the ice begins to melt!

All the water now needs someplace to escape, and it will try to find anyplace to do so! This means under your shingles, through your windows, into your ceilings, and eventually into your home – causing water damage that may be incredibly expensive to repair! 

Clean out your gutters before winter hits and ensure the water has a place to travel away from your home – and keep it safe from melted water and dry from any water damage.

Snow is pretty, but it can spell disaster.

The first snowfall can be incredibly peaceful and welcoming, but once the novelty has worn off and you’re buried under several feet of snow, it can become an issue for your home to keep water away and out of the basement.

Test your sump pump and other drainage systems before the rain and snow hit. This will keep your basement dry and your home free of water damage.

Despite everything we try to prepare for water damage, sometimes it happens. When water damage occurs, especially in the winter months, Lamunyon Dry Out and Foundation Repair is here to help restore your home as quickly and effectively as possible.

We know the inconvenience water damage causes, and our team of professionals is standing by, ready to help get your home back to normal! Call us at the first sign of water – we’re around 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

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