Water damage isn't just the result of a natural disaster like fire or flood, it can also be the result of normal winter weather. By knowing the most common causes of winter water damage in the home, you can take steps to avoid it.
1. Frozen Pipes
One of the most common causes of winter water damage may very well be frozen pipes. When water is trapped inside a plumbing pipe, it can freeze if the temperature in the home gets low enough. The water then expands, causing the pipe to break or come apart at the joints. Once the pipe thaws and water resumes flowing, a major leak can cause damage. Sometimes the damage is in the walls so it isn't even immediately noticeable, which can then lead to severe damage.
You can prevent this issue by keeping your furnace to a warm temperature well above freezing. In extreme cold, open cabinet doors so air circulates around pipes and use heat tape on pipes that are prone to freezing.
2. Ice Dams
Although water damage is most often associated with basements or plumbing, the roof can also be the site for water damage inside the home. An ice dam typically forms along the eaves of your roof or inside a roof valley. Water from melting snow gets trapped as it tries to drain off the roof, then refreezes into the dam. Snow melt from behind the dam the gets trapped, so that it seeps underneath the shingles just behind the dam. The result is water getting into your basement and possibly trickling into the rooms below.
Clean gutters help reduce the chances of ice dams, since the water can run off more easily. You may also need to install heat tape in problem areas like roof valleys so that ice dams don't form.
3. Snow Drifts
Whether the snow gets pushed up against your house by the wind or by your own snow removal efforts, too much snow up against your foundation is a recipe for water damage. When these piles of snow begin to melt, the water has to go somewhere. Often, that somewhere may be into your basement either through minor foundation cracks or by saturating the ground to the point that your main sewer line backs up.
Solve the problem by shoveling the snow away from your foundation. Place it in the yard or in another area that is well away from your foundation.
If winter weather has left you with water damage, don't despair.
Contact a water damage restoration service so you can begin repairing the problem.