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5 Ways to Prevent Home Water Damage Before & During Winter

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While water damage is always a threat to your home, the dangers can increase in winter because of poor weather conditions. With snow falling, melting, freezing and then adding more layers of snow on top of that, many things can go wrong. As we make our way through the fall season and into winter, take some time to prepare your home for the extreme drops in temperature and inevitable snowstorms.

Follow these tips to protect your home:

Prevent Ice Dams with Clean Gutters

Ice dams form on rooftops when water is not allowed to properly drain. They are formed when snow that accumulates on your roof melts, refreezes, and then prevents more water from draining off the roof and into the gutters.

Ice dams are dangerous because they can cause leaks in your roof. If too much snow continues to accumulate on your roof, water will eventually make its way into your home, causing damage In your attic and the upper floors.

To prevent ice dams, make sure you do two things:

  1. Before the first snowfall, make sure to clean out your gutters to allow water to properly drain off of your roof.
  2. Keep your gutters clear of snow throughout the winter. If you notice excess snow accumulation, clear the snow from these parts of your roof.

Prevent Pipes from Freezing During the Winter

A common cause of water damage in the winter is pipes that have burst due to freezing. These are especially common in crawlspaces and areas that aren’t very well insulated. You can prevent frozen pipes by:

  • Heating these areas: winter isn’t the time to be stingy with your heating bill. Make sure areas with pipes are heated, even if it means placing a space heater in the area.
  • Sealing areas: if your crawl space or other area has cracks, holes, etc., make sure to seal them before the temperature drops to prevent heat from escaping from the area.
  • Insulate pipes: you can insulate pipes by wrapping them with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves or heat tape.
  • Allow faucets to drip: this can alleviate pressure in the pipes if they freeze.
  • Shut off water: if all else fails, and if possible, you can shut off water to the area.

Ensure Your Drainage System is Ready for Winter

Making sure water properly drains away from your home will help reduce your chances of springing a leak during the winter. Here’s a quick “proper drainage” checklist:

  • Test your sump pump to ensure it is working properly
  • Make sure gutter downspouts are directed at least 5 feet away from your home
  • Make sure your yard is graded properly (i.e. sloping away from the foundation of your home).


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