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How to Prevent Winter Water Damage in Your Home

Freezing temperatures and the accumulation of snow in winter can cause serious water damage to your home. Water pipes can freeze and burst, ice dams can form on your roof, and thawed snow can infiltrate your home, causing water damage. Follow these safety measures to prevent water damage to your home in winter:

Prevent Frozen Pipes and Pipe Bursts

Pipes in the crawl space, outside walls, and in the attic are vulnerable to freezing and bursting in cold temperatures.

  • Close cracks, holes, and openings in outside walls and foundation near water pipes with caulk.
  • Wrap exposed pipes in insulating materials such as foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves.
  • Faucets that connect to pipes in unheated spaces are prone to freezing. Let these faucets drip to help prevent water in the pipes from freezing.
  • Keep cabinet doors open when outside temperatures drop below 32 °F to provide heat to pipes.
  • If you’re leaving home for more than two days, leave the heat on in your home. Set the temperature to no lower than 55 °F.
  • If a pipe bursts, shut off the water supply to your home immediately. Learn tips to turn off utilities in case of a disaster here.

Prevent Ice Dams

Ice dams take form when warm air in the attic heats the roof and melts the snow on the roof. The melted snow collects on unheated eaves and starts freezing, creating ice dams. If you don’t prevent or remove ice dams, they can cause significant water damage to your roof and home.

  • Have your gutters and downspouts cleaned, inspected, and repaired before snow starts to settle. This ensures that water will flow unobstructed in your drain system.
  • Insulate your attic properly – heat in the home should not reach the attic. Make sure the attic floor is airtight by sealing any openings.
  • Provide sufficient ventilation to the attic to keep the roof cool. The temperature in the attic should be 5 to 10 °F warmer than the outside temperature.

Prevent Spring Thaw Water Damage

Melting snow and ice can enter your home through the roof or foundation when spring arrives.

  • Have snow from your roof removed when the layer of snow is about six inches deep. Check out how to safely remove snow from roofs here.
  • Shovel snow away from your home to prevent water from seeping into the foundation.
  • Keep the sewers clear of snow and debris to allow melted snow to flow unobstructed.
  • Check your basement regularly for water leaks from sewer drains. Make sure the basement floor, walls, windows, and doors are properly sealed.

If you have a sump pump in your basement, ensure it is working properly to  prepare for sudden flooding. Learn how to test a sump pump in this article. For emergency flood repair and water removal services, contact your local PuroClean office.

PuroClean is a leading commercial and residential restoration franchising company.  Founded in 2001, the company offers fire and water cleanup and restoration services, mold mitigation and remediation, and biohazard cleanup and removal throughout the United States and Canada through its franchise network of 240 offices. Learn more. 
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