Water damage during cold months can occur from many sources such as pipes freezing, ice dams, and groundwater to name a few. So, what do you do to prevent these?
Make sure all outside hose spigots are winterized, this should be done before the temperatures go below freezing. Turn off the water supply to the spigots and then open them to drain any excess water.
Insulate any water supply lines that are located on exterior walls of your home or in areas that are prone to freeze such as a crawlspace. Water supply lines located in these areas more likely to freeze and rupture. Sometimes insulating these lines is not enough to prevent them from freezing. If that is the case, you may need to wrap them with heat tape, or you can always leave faucets with a slight drip to keep water moving and help prevent the water supply lines from freezing.
Ice Dams form around the eaves of roofs when snow melts at the top of the roof faster than around the bottom. This causes the freshly melted snow, now water to get trapped at the bottom eve of the roof and refreezes. This process keeps repeating itself until an ice dam forms. The key to preventing ice dams is to make sure your attic is properly insulated and ventilated and in cases where insulation and ventilation are unable to be properly installed you can install heating cable around the eve to keep ice dams at bay.
When melting occurs around you home it can lead to excess ground water coming into your crawlspace or basement typically through what is called hydrostatic pressure. To help ensure this doesn’t happen to your home there are a few steps you can take.
- Always make sure the grading of your home slopes away from the structure. This includes the ground, cement, patios, decks, and porches.
- Make sure your gutters and downspouts are properly functioning. Gutters should slope towards the downspouts, downspouts should be extended 6 feet away from your foundation, and the entire system should be kept clean and free flowing.
- Test your sump pump regularly to ensure it is working. It is also important to make sure the sump pump discharge line is located far enough away from your home to make sure the water won’t just re-enter. Lastly, it is a worth installing a backup system on your sump pump. These come in a variety of types such as a water backup system or a battery backup system.
These are just a few tips to help prevent water damage to your home during the winter months. Remember water is the number one destroyer of a home and a little preventative maintenance now can prevent major expenses later.