Winter is almost here in Idaho! In some areas snow has already fallen. As a homeowner, winterizing your house is a crucial and essential aspect of preparing for the weather change. Here are a few tips to help prevent issues that can cause pipe bursts or water damage! 

Types of Winter Water Damage 

Though water damage can happen at any time of the year, here are the three biggest reasons your house may incur winter hazard issues during the cold months.

  1. Frozen Pipes:
    It’s the number one cause of major water leaks in all homes, but particularly in the winter season. A sudden snowstorm may sweep in, and before you know it, pipes freeze over due to the drastic drop in temperature. This causes pipes to burst and flood certain areas of your home with dirty or freezing water. 
  2. Ice Dams:
    Areas of your roofline or around your gutters may be uneven in size. Or your roof covering may slope around turns, which can create different temperature levels on the roof surface. When warmer air melts snow faster, it will flow in a downward direction and freeze again once exposed to the cold. This causes build-up and creates ice dams. The dams tend to put pressure on corners of the roof and gutters as they get heavier. When they melt, water can seep into the roof shingles and cause damage in attic space. 
  3. Snow Melt:
    This is common around the foundation of the house, driveway edges, and sidewalks. Snow can pile up and when temperature increases, the melt off seeps into cracks, soaks down into the soil, and leaks into the basement or cellar walls. Any window sills at ground level that are not adequately insulated will also have water leak into drywall around interior window walls. 

 

Prepare before the Winter Season

As the chill in the fall air becomes cooler, you can begin to prepare your home and property for the coming winter snow. These easy steps will ensure your house is ready for those drastic temperature changes that can take us by storm!

  • Create a Winterize Home Checklist – list out a few specific priorities for your particular house and property type. Clean gutters, cover exposed pipes and inspect your roof and chimney (if you have a fireplace). 
  • Have your furnace inspected – Make sure it runs properly and efficiently. Filter change and using a programmable thermostat will also assist in having your furnace up to speed. 
  • Check windows and doors for weather stripping – Make sure cracks and airflow are sealed. Also, swap out light summer curtains for heavier, thicker curtains that can keep heat inside.
  • Sprinkler blowout – Have all sprinkler or irrigation lines cleared before the first ground freeze. You can also cover your hose spigots and store hoses away for the winter.

 

Now that Snow has Fallen

If winter is now in full swing, make sure to keep a vigilant eye on things in and around the house to avoid a major issue from occurring.

  • Shovel and remove snow build-up: Keep your sidewalks clear, your driveway shoveled and snow removed from around the base of the house. This will help avoid any melt off that can cause water damage.
  • Cool down the attic: If cooler air circulates at a steady flow in the attic space, this can help prevent major ice dams from occurring on the roof and around the gutters.
  • Always check your pipes: After each snowfall or major storm, do a pipe check for possible leaks or obvious cracks that could be an issue. You can also allow warm air to circulate around interior pipes that are under sinks or behind cabinets by opening them wide during a warmer day. Keeping the pipes warm will prevent possible freezing and pipe bursts in the future. 

 

Make sure your home is safeguarded and ready this winter season. The beautiful snowfall can reflect a magical time, but water damage to your home should be the last thing you’ll want to think about! The helpful tips above will prepare your home for those cold nights and icy filled days ahead.