Did you know that Winter is one of the busiest seasons for water damage?  Not all water emergencies can be avoided, but there are steps that can be taken to prevent them.  So, because it’s a season for caring and sharing we are giving you our top 3 tips to keep your home safe from water damage this winter.

Winterize & Take Care of Your Pipes

  • Take proper care to prep pipes for freezing temperatures. Winterize outside faucets and sprinkler systems by disconnecting garden hoses and draining excess water from all pipes.
  • In freezing temperatures, let cold water drip from faucets to relieve pressure on pipes.  Opening cabinet doors will also help to circulate warm air.
  • Protect pipes with added insulation like foam pipe sleeves or insulation tape. Common areas to check are crawl spaces, basements, and attics.
  • Know where water shut-off valves are located so that you know how to turn them off if there is a water emergency.

 Check for Leaks

  • Check under sinks regularly for signs of warping or discoloration. Look for condensation or corrosion up and around pipes.  Replace rubber hoses with steel braided lines for added security.
  • Check the attic for any signs of water damage including warping, wood deterioration, or discoloration.
  • Garbage disposals work hard and after years of use, they can wear out and start to leak. These leaks often smell foul and can lead to mold growth.  Check under kitchen sinks and fix any leaks.
  • Perform regular checks for signs of leaks or damage on your roof. Always be safe when doing these checks and hire a professional if you are uncomfortable or if it is unsafe.  Look for rust spots, holes, and gaps in flashing around skylights, pipes, and chimneys.  Check for signs of damage including cracked, buckled, or missing shingles.  If shingles are damaged or missing, they should be replaced immediately.
  • Do not wait to fix leaks from your showerhead or bathtub faucet. Showerhead leaks alone can waste up to 500 gallons of water per year.  The most common reason for these types of leaks is a faulty seal.  This is a fix you can most likely do on your own.
  • If you have a basement, check it often for signs of moisture. Make repairs and replacements immediately if there is damage from leaks.
  • Carefully check seals around windows and doors. Any damaged areas should be repaired or replaced.

 Ventilation & Clean-Up

Excess moisture in the home can quickly and easily lead to mold growth.  Mold needs moisture, warmth, and a food source to grow.  Winter creates the perfect environment for mold formation with snow and rain being tracked inside, condensation build-up, and the possibility of pipe bursts or other leaks.  It’s also a time of year with little air ventilation as we close our windows and doors to keep the cold out.

  • Always use exhaust fans or open a window in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms when moisture is present.
  • Check that your clothes dryer is in working order and properly venting to the outside.
  • Set ceiling fans to turn clockwise. This pulls cold air up and pushes warm air down.  It also helps to circulate air, preventing condensation on walls, windows, and doors.
  • Be observant of pipes, windows, and walls. Extra moisture can quickly be absorbed by drywall and wood creating a perfect environment for mold If you notice condensation accumulation, dry the area immediately.  Check for possible leaks and make any needed repairs to avoid future moisture build-up.
  • Mold loves dust! Dust, vacuum, and clean regularly in the winter months.  Be especially mindful of areas that receive a lot of traffic like entryways and living rooms.

Winter can bring with it more than just frightful weather.  Freezing temperatures can put a lot of strain on our homes and cause some serious damage.  So, give your home a little TLC by following our tips to avoid water damage.

 

Related Blog Posts:

Prevent Water Damage Today with This Checklist

Cold Weather Home Maintenance

Get Your Home Winter Ready

Keep Your Home Safe This Winter Season

Prevent Water Damage from Your Washing Machine

Prevent Water Damage in the Bathroom

Water Damage Prevention with Smart Home Innovations

 

Additional Resources & References:

https://www.ready.gov/winter-weather

https://www.weather.gov/safety/winter-before

https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/beforestorm/preparehome.html

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