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Tips to Prevent Winter Water Damage


Winter is almost over. Although winter can be a peaceful somber season. The winter chill and harsh snowstorms on the other hand can bring a new hazard to your home - invasive water damage. To help protect your home from water damage, you have to know what the warning signs are.


#1. Moisture from the Snow Melting

Snow is bad enough on your home, but when the temperature jumps all around like it does in Iowa, then the potential for problems arises. Proper drainage is important when the snow starts to melt so the water doesn’t get into your home, damaging its structure. Freezing, thawing and refreezing water can get into cracks and make them worse, harming your homes foundation. Use caulking to seal cracks and wall openings to prevent cold air and moisture from entering your home.


#2. Beware the Freezing Pipes

Freezing pipes are the bane of any homeowner’s winter woes. When water in your pipes or plumbing freezes, the water and the pipes expand. When there is no more room to expand, your pipes burst, sending water everywhere. If your pipes freeze, speed is critical. The quicker you shut off water or direct your plumber to the problem, the better your chance of preventing major water damage. Water damage can be very extensive and costly. Take preventative measures now by having a functional sump pump in your basement. Consider purchasing a portable power generator to ensure safety, in case your sump pump is battery operated and a snowstorm were to cause a power outage. Always be sure to follow all guidelines for safe operation. Make sure your foundation, insulation around your pipes, and insulation are in good proper condition. Have any compromised pipe or structural damage is found, have all necessary repairs performed as soon as possible.



#3. Watch Out for Ice Dams

Ice dams are another major winter hazard. After the snow on your roof melts, it has to find some way to flow down. If there is a path off your roof, GREAT. But if the water at the end of your roof freezes and forms an ice dam, there is nowhere for that melted water to go, other than INTO your home. Prevent damage to your roof, attic, and upper parts of your home by making sure your home’s gutters are clear before the first snow and that you keep the area clear of blockage throughout the winter. If you have icicles hanging from your roof, that may be a sign that ice dams are forming. To help protect against this problem, keep your attic cold -- no more than 5 to 10 degrees warmer than the outside temperature -- by sealing holes from light fixtures and ceiling fans to prevent warm air from escaping into your attic.





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