Top Causes of Winter Water Damage

by HMAC / Tuesday, 01 December 2020 / Published in Water Damage

Winter is one of the most enjoyable times of the year, but it also brings a host of unique challenges. Water damage is a very real threat during winter, but there is a lot you could do to avoid any long-term problems. 

Bursting Pipes

Bursting pipes are among the most common causes of water damage during the winter. As temperatures plunge, they can cause tremendous strain on your pipes, causing them to eventually burst. 

But the damage isn’t caused by the freezing and expanding of the water, as you may have thought. Although extremely low temperatures will cause water to freeze and expand, this doesn’t cause as much damage as you may think. Instead, it is the water pressure that builds up due to blockage that is the problem. 

How do you prevent your pipes from bursting? Consider having your pipes insulated. This prevents them from freezing and reduces the risk of ice formation, which is the most common cause of blockage. 

In most cases, insulating pipes requires nothing more than fitting them with pipe sleeves. Pay particular attention to pipes that are located outdoors, especially those that lead into your house. Don’t forget to check the pipes in your garage as well. These are especially prone to freezing, even if they aren’t directly exposed to the elements. 

Clogged Gutters

Many cases of water damage can be traced to gutter blockages. Unfortunately, these are the most neglected parts of any home. Don’t believe us? When was the last time you checked your gutter for blockage? If you are like most homeowners, you probably haven’t done so since last spring. 

The sad reality is that most homeowners take rain gutters for granted. Oftentimes, they only check for blockage when it has already flooded and caused water damage. Hopefully, it isn’t too late to do anything about it by then, 

The importance of regularly checking gutters cannot be overstated. You need to ensure their ability to do the job for which they are intended. This is to direct water away from the areas of your home where it can cause damage. 

Ice buildup can cause just as much damage as debris. Check to see that the water can flow freely and doesn’t form pools throughout the length of the gutter system. While you’re at it, consider repairing or replacing any broken shingles as well. 

Outdoor Water Sources 

It may surprise you to know that outdoor water sources are fairly common causes of winter water damage. Water and moisture outside the home can be problematic any time of the year. But they can be especially damaging during the winter months when they are subject to freezing temperatures.

As with most problems that cause water damage, many of the issues caused by outdoor water sources are avoidable with preventive action. Before winter comes around, take a stroll around your property and identify any possible problems related to outdoor water sources. This could be everything from pipes and water fixtures to standing water on your driveway or patio.

Don’t leave your garden hoses lying around your yard all winter. It is always best to drain them and stash them in your garage or garden shed until spring. 

Shut off any outdoor water valves. This could prevent a surprise deluge if a pipe happens to bursts in the dead of winter. 

Melting Snow 

Snow might seem harmless and even charming, but snow melt can cause significant water damage. Snow is especially problematic when it piles up around the perimeter of your home, where it could saturate the soil. When this happens, there is a good chance that water will leak through your basement walls and possibly even weaken your foundations. 

Dealing with snow is a fairly straightforward process, but you do have to put in some work. Make sure to shovel away any snowdrifts before they have a chance to build up too much and melt. 

Consider installing a sump pump. This will help you avoid problems with water making its way to the interior of your home. It is also a good idea to seal any cracks and gaps that you see on your basement walls.

Like many problems that could affect your home’s condition and structural integrity, water damage is avoidable with preventive action. Take the time to identify potential problem areas before winter comes, and you could rest easy knowing that your home will be safe throughout the season.