Water damage will threaten our homes no matter the season. However, winter is one of the most common times for water damage. The harsh changes in temperatures can cause a huge strain on your home, especially if it has yet to be prepped for the winter. Freezing temperatures or thawing snow can bring damage when the proper measures aren’t taken ahead of time. Preparing for the most common reasons is crucial to avoid water damage.
Water heaters, such as basements or utility closets, are typically out of sight or out of mind. Because they are often unthought of, they can leak seemingly without warning. Unfortunately, water heaters don’t last forever and eventually give out after about 12 years. When it does finally give up, you will notice there is no hot water anywhere in the home, and there may be water on the top of the tank or, even worse, all over the floor.
In the winter, water heaters are far more prone to damage. They are used often, and the cold weather can cause damage. Cold temperatures can cause the metal on your water heater to expand and contract, potentially causing damage and eventually leaks. This could happen more often if you have an older water heater or the unit is placed in an unheated home area.
Gutters are another essential element in our homes that can be easily forgotten. When they are neglected, water damage is sure to follow. In the winter, any sort of moisture that is left behind in gutters will freeze and end up being quite destructive. A home’s gutter system can get weighed down by ice buildups. When the snow along the roof melts from the heat that escapes from inside the home and trickles into the gutter, it pools and freezes into what is known as an ice dam. Ice dams can loosen shingles, tear off gutters, and cause water to back up.
Burst pipes are among the most common reasons for professional water damage cleanup, no matter the season. However, during the frigid months, pipes will likely freeze and burst. Contrary to popular belief, pipes don’t usually burst because of the expanding ice. Instead, building pressure between a faucet and an ice blockage will do the trick.
Pipes that need to be properly insulated are more often to burst than pipes that are insulated. However, there are times when the temperatures drop so much that it doesn’t matter how well they are insulated.
Understanding how winter water damage can occur in a home can be a matter of saving your home. You can take preventative steps to avoid problems and be prepared for an oncoming emergency. Though you can take all the preventative measures, unforeseen problems can still inadvertently happen. At that point, it is entirely out of your control. However, water damage cleanup doesn’t have to be done. Professionals at Restoration 1 of Birmingham can ensure that any water damage issues you have will be taken care of swiftly.