In polar and temperate climates, winter is the coldest season of the year, yet it can be beautiful. The stillness surrounding you makes it seem like everything is about to start over. However, the reality is often not as romantic at all. It is because winter freezes everything around you, even the plumbing system. Winter water damage is quite common, especially in rural areas where it can be challenging to install uniform insulation.
Thus, it is important that you become familiar with the usual damage that winter brings. Especially when it comes to your plumbing. You will know which part to prioritize as you prepare for the coldest season of the year.
Common Winter Water Damage
Preparing your plumbing to withstand winter damage can help you save time and money. If you don’t, expect the following problems to occur:
1. Burst Pipes
Increased water pressure can cause freezing pipes to burst, leading to leakage and water damage. It can be dangerous, especially if your house has old cast iron or galvanized steel pipes.
2. Ice Dams and Roof Leaks
Winter is a time for icicles on trees, roofs, and gutters. They may look enchanting at times but can be quite problematic as well. When the snow melts, the gutters get filled up with water, freeze, then become virtual ice dams that could inevitably burst when they become too big and heavy.
Clogged gutters can also cause roof leaks. This could result in melted snow seeping into your home when they could not find any exit points, paving the way for water damage and mold growth.
3. Outdoor Leaks
Outdoor water sources like garden hoses and outdoor spigots can burst at freezing temperatures and lead to leakage, resulting in property destruction if not addressed immediately.
An expert in water damage restoration in Colorado Springs stressed that if you have a large outdoor area that requires water, such as ponds, swimming pools, or vegetable gardens, these should be checked regularly. If a leak occurs, the surrounding areas will become soggy and wet, which might be difficult to spot during winter.
How to Prevent Winter Water Damage
Winter can cause severe damage to your plumbing and your house foundations. Preparing for the cold season should begin as early as the end of the summer and throughout the entire autumn. Below are the things worth doing, especially if you are a first-time homeowner.
1. Insulate Your Plumbing
Frozen pipes are the most common problems that can occur to your plumbing system in winter. Insulate every plumbing fixture in your home to avoid this. Cover your plumbing system with a blanket if it is in an uninsulated area.
2. Adjust the Thermostat
During winter, it is prevalent for the cold temperatures to continue throughout the day and into the night. It can freeze your pipes, even those running through your house. So keep the thermostat on to keep them from freezing up.
3. Clean Your Roof and Gutters
To prevent ice dams from forming, ensure the gutter is clear of clogs. The gutters are often filled with leaves that have fallen from trees during the previous season. These should be removed along with all other debris, such as dead branches or fallen fruits from nearby trees.
4. Install Water-Leak Detectors
Sometimes, leaks in your plumbing systems cannot be detected immediately. Water leak detectors can help you in this case, and you can purchase them from the local hardware store. After buying a detector, It is best to place it close to your plumbing.
5. Turn Off Your Valves
It is a bad idea to leave your outdoor water supplies exposed to freezing temperatures. To prevent them from being damaged, close all water valves, and disconnect the hoses. If you also have an outdoor fountain or a mini-waterfall, it is best to turn them off as well.
6. Replace Old Pipes
PEX or cross-linked polyethylene pipe comes highly recommended by most plumbers as this is highly flexible and can expand in cold temperatures. If your plumbing pipes are still made from galvanized steel, PEX is the best replacement and the best time to do this is before winter comes around.
It is completely understandable if you find winter preparations tiring and perhaps even daunting. Yet, it is only through this that you can effectively avoid any damage the cold months can bring.
In any case, there are many things you can do to prepare for winter are not that difficult to accomplish. Cleaning your gutters and turning off outdoor water valves can be done relatively easily. Meanwhile, more technical tasks like replacing plumbing pipes and installing a leak detector can be done for you by a professional plumber.
Remember that preparing your home for the coming winter is a worthwhile practice. It won’t just spare you the inconveniences of having to put up with water damage in the middle of winter but will save you from the eventual, often costly, repairs. So before the temperature drops, make sure your home is well prepared for the winter.