Cold Weather Home Tips
September 24, 2011
While you can’t change the weather, you can minimize some of winter’s biggest threats to your home.
Heavy snow accumulation can pose a threat to your home or business — both as it builds up and as it melts. The three most important things to do are:
• Watch for snow accumulation on the downwind side of a higher-level roof, where blowing snow will collect.
• Remove snow from basement stairwells, window wells and all walls. Melting snow can lead to water damage and moisture intrusion.
• Keep your attic well ventilated to maintain a temperature close to that of the outdoors to minimize the risk of ice dams forming.
Ice dams are an accumulation of ice at the lower edge of a sloped roof. When interior heat melts the snow, water can run down and refreeze at the roof’s edge, where it’s much cooler. If the ice builds up and blocks water from draining off the roof, water is forced under the roof covering and into your attic or down the inside walls of your house.
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To help reduce the risk of ice dams:
• Make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and debris.
• Keep the attic well ventilated so snow doesn’t melt and refreeze on the roof’s edge.
• Make sure the attic floor is well insulated to minimize the amount of heat rising through the attic from within the house.
Bursting pipes occur when frozen water causes a pressure buildup between the ice blockage and the closed faucet. Pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are particularly vulnerable to extreme cold. To keep water in your pipes from freezing:
• Fit exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping to slow heat transfer.
• Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes with caulking.
• Keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes.
• Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through an unheated or unprotected space.