Winter Water Cleanup And Prevention
As winter sets in, water damage related
to snow and ice becomes a very real possibility. Failure to properly winterize your home and
protect it from the elements can end up costing you hundreds or even thousands
of dollars, and worse, it may not be covered by insurance.
Over 10% of all water damage
related losses are the result of winter storms and the average claim for such
damage is just over $3,000. If you haven’t
already done so, make preparations now for winter weather.
Start with your home’s exterior,
as it will bear the brunt of the elements.
Make sure your gutters are free from obstruction. Clean out all leaves, sticks, or other debris
that may clog up the gutters or your downspouts. Failure to provide for proper drainage may
result in “ice damming”, where the water is unable to drain and instead seeps
into the house, causing damage within ceilings and walls. You can also install gutter guards which are
screened shields designed to keep unwanted debris out of the gutter assembly.
Trim trees and remove any dead
branches that you find. The weight of
ice or snow could cause branches to break, causing damage to cars or
potentially injuring someone standing in the wrong place.
Keep your steps and handrails
clean and in good shape. This can
prevent falls due to ice. You should
also seal up cracks in your outside wall or foundation. This will prevent any snowmelt or runoff from
Disconnect all hoses from outside
spigots. Failure to do so may result in
your pipes freezing.
As for the inside of your home,
keep your thermostat set no lower than 65 degrees. Remember that the temp inside the walls will
be substantially colder.
Add extra insulation to your
attics, basements, and crawlspaces. Heat
rises, and as it escapes through the roof, it can cause the snow on the roof to
Have your heating system (furnaces,
boilers, chimneys, etc.) serviced at least once a year to prevent possible fire
and smoke damage. Check all pipes for
leaks or cracks and have the pipes repaired immediately. Any exposed pipes should be wrapped with
heating tape or insulation.
Have an emergency pressure release
valve installed. This will prevent
increased pressure from bursting frozen pipes.
Make sure all smoke and fire
alarms are working properly, and look into adding a carbon monoxide detector,
because a winterized home may be sufficiently sealed to retain a significant
amount of this lethal gas.
In the event of frozen pipes, know
where and how to cut off the water to your home. This is important to prevent the pipes from
If you are going to be away from
your home for an extended period, either turn your water off or have the system
professionally drained to prevent freezing or bursting. If possible, have a friend or neighbor check
on your home on a regular basis.
In the event of winter related water damage, contact your local water cleanup and restoration professionals....
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