With temperatures beginning to drop, it is likely that you’ve already pulled out all of your sweaters, socks and mittens out of the box. While you’ve geared up to brave the cold weather, how about your home? Have you prepped it up to survive the possible damages that winter will bring?
With strong winds, freezing temperatures and heavy snow, winter can significantly damage your home. So if you want to ensure that you won’t be doing repairs in the middle of a cold winter night, here are the most common cold-weather dangers that can affect your house and how you can prevent them from ruining your property.
Exposure to freezing temperatures can cause water pipes to freeze and burst. A frozen pipe is not only costly to repair; once it cracks, it can waste as much as 250 gallons of water each day. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to prevent this problem from happening.
First, seal small holes or leaks on all the pipes inside and outside your house with a waterproof sealant. Second, insulate them using commercial foams that are made to fit standard-sized pipes. Third, disconnect hoses or shut off the water supply to the faucets outside your home. Once you have turned off the water, open all of the faucets and leave them open for the rest of the winter to prevent standing water in the pipes from freezing.
Falling tree limbs
Falling trees and branches is a common occurrence during winter that can cause significant damage to your house. What makes this even more dangerous is that a falling limb can hit utility lines causing power outage or fire. To reduce the dangers that falling trees may bring, inspect the trees surrounding your house. Take note of how the branches are angled and also check them for cracks or splits. For branches that are hanging above your home’s roof, prune them properly to prevent them from falling. Thinning out the main limbs will lighten their weight, thereby reducing the potential for breakage.
Icy sidewalks, driveway and steps
You can’t do much about snow falling on your driveway, steps and sidewalks. However, you can prevent the damage and possible injury it can cause. Before the snow falls, repair slightly damaged steps or replace some of them if necessary. As for the sidewalks and driveway, seal them properly to reduce cracking.
Ice dam on roof
Once snow and ice hit your roof, the heat escaping from the inside of your house helps prevent the roof from freezing. When the snow and ice melt and find their way on the edges of the roof (eaves) where no insulation is present, they may refreeze and form into damaging ice dams.
To prevent ice dams, clean your gutters and downspouts to ensure that they are draining properly. Equally important is to ensure that your ceiling and attic are airtight so that warm air will not escape. If possible, layer up on ceiling or roof insulation to reduce heat loss.
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This piece of home improvement advice was contributed by one of the writers of McIntyre Masonry. McIntyre Masonry provides a full range of stonemasonry services, which are carried out by some of the best stonemasons in Edinburgh and the Lothian’s.