The colder months can be unkind to homeowners. The vulnerable parts of their property – trees, gutters and roofing – are assailed with snow and ice, and as the accumulation builds, maintenance expenses build, as well. Winter weather damage is often inevitable and almost always costly.
That said, you can take certain measures to combat the cold before it harms your home. If you prepare yourself as a storm approaches, you can counter potential problems and preserve your trees, gutters, roofing, steps, pipes, chimney, and other features of your property.
In this article, we’ll detail eight parts of your home to check for damage during the winter, preventing problems and addressing them.
It’s a general rule that homeowners should clean their gutters at least twice a year, if not more, depending on the foliage around their property. You should attend to any sticks, leaves and other debris to prevent ice damming, which obstructs the flow of water and allows seepage into ceilings and walls.
Concerning foliage, homeowners should address any overhanging branches that present a risk to their safety. If they have an older tree in their yard with heavy limbs, accumulated snow and ice present a potential hazard. Preempt breakage by calling a professional service for branch removal.
Warm air within an attic rises, heating wood beams and shingles, and this often melts snow and ice. The outside edges, however, aren’t as warm as the surface of the roof, and the gathering water forms ice dams. These ice dams lead to mold, mildew, wet insulation and wood rot, among other issues.
You can handle ice dams in several ways — here are three of the most effective solutions:
- Install heat cables in a zigzag pattern across the edge of the roof
- Use a specially designed snow rake long enough to clear away the buildup
- Insert an ice and water membrane beneath the shingles to guard against leaks
The fissures in cement, stone and other surfaces trap water, and as temperatures drop, it freezes and expands. Through many of these cycles of freezing and thawing, fissures turn to fractures. If the affected area is a set of stairs, the damage can cause an injury. Repair cracks before they develop.
Paint’s function is more than superficial. When applied to shingles, it assists in protecting against water damage and rot. Set aside time to inspect the exterior paint of your home, searching for any sections that show signs of chipping or peeling. Should you find these flaws, attend to them with a fresh coat.
Many homeowners believe they should clear their deck of snow as a form of damage prevention, but in most situations, this is unnecessary. As long as you ensure there’s a safe path for foot traffic free, most decking materials will retain their quality throughout the winter. Shovels often do more harm than good.
Cold temperatures can compromise the pipes in your home if they aren’t properly insulated. As part of your annual home maintenance checklist, survey your pipes for the presence of any cracks or leaks. Take the opportunity to fit your system with foam covers as a precautionary measure moving forward.
When moisture permeates the bricks in your chimney, the masonry may deteriorate, and the assemblies that keep your fireplace functioning might fail. To protect your home from the serious hazards this type of damage entails, schedule an inspection to ensure everything is in working order.
Take a Proactive Approach
A proactive approach is preferable to damage control. If you wait for winter weather to harm your home, the cost will far exceed what you would’ve spent had you taken the initiative to prepare. Maintenance is often simple, and through a few of the suggestions above, you can reduce risks and protect your property.
As you proceed with your improvements, check vulnerable areas such as your pipes, chimney, gutters, roof and steps. It’s essential to remember that the owner of a property — particularly a commercial property — is often liable in situations where a visitor injures themselves on the premises, and the legal fees are steep.
Whether you repair cracks in your steps or insulate your pipes, preserving your comfort and safety begins with preserving your home.