Your home, among other things, offers you shelter from the harsh winter cold. But the very shelter that protects you from the harsh winter elements can itself be damaged by those same elements. The same way your home protects you, you need to protect your home to help it help you stay warm, safe and dry through the winter. Here are three ways cold weather can affect your home and how you can protect it.
Your roof is literally the first line of defense against the elements. Snow and ice can be particularly damaging to roofs because of the excess weight they add in addition to freezing and expanding tiles or shingles. Just one inch of ice or one foot of snow can add up to 5 lbs. Per square foot of added weight to your roof. That may not seem like much, but it adds up to one ton of additional weight for every 400 square feet of roof. You can help minimize the stress on your roof by using a roof rake to rake off any excess accumulation of snow.
In the winter, pipes are more susceptible to freezing. When the water in pipes freezes, it expands, which sometimes causes fractures or cracks in the pipe. When the water thaws and pressure is restored, the water can burst through the crack in the pipe which in turn can cause a flood. Any pipes located near exterior walls can be particularly vulnerable, as are the exterior pipes under your home. If your kitchen sink is located in front of a window or exterior wall, you may want to leave the cabinet doors open and allow the water to drip just a bit. Running the water helps keep it flowing and flowing water doesn’t freeze as easily. One of the best things you can do, however, is to have a plumber come and inspect all of your pipes before winter cold sets in.
While your furnace is indoors and is not itself susceptible to cold, when the temperatures plummet, it goes to work full time. You don’t want your furnace to quit right in the middle of a freezing cold snap, so you’ll also want to have it inspected in the fall. In addition, you can also help lower energy costs and put less stress on your furnace at the same time by weather-proofing your home.
Protecting your home in winter will help it keep you safe, warm, sheltered and protected. One of the best things you can do for your home is to get it inspected in the fall and maintain it during the cold winter months.