Once the cold weather sets in, property damage skyrockets. While you can’t control the weather to prevent some of these issues, you can work hard on prevention. Staying on top of maintenance can help you avoid these top five causes of winter property damage.
Fires are often associated with the dry grass of late summer. However, many homes are lost to fires during the first cold snap of the winter. People fire up their long unused heating systems or light their fireplaces without checking for obstructions. If anything has gone wrong with your heating system over the summer, you could be facing the right categories for a fire. Additionally, placing space heaters near walls or drapes can result in fires. To avoid the most common causes of fires in the winter, have your heating system inspected before firing it up. Practice vigilance with space heaters as well, and never leave them plugged in when you’re not at home.
Burst pipes can account for thousands of dollars of property damage in minutes. Water expands when it freezes. This expansion puts huge pressure on the pipes themselves. A burst pipe can hemorrhage water at a shocking rate. Fortunately, frozen pipes are easy to avoid. Insulate exposed exterior and interior pipes before the first cold snap of the year. Leave the tap running lightly if you suspect your pipes are freezing. The moving water will prevent it from freezing in the pipe.
You’re not in control of the weather, but you are in control of your roof maintenance. Winds and rains can rip up shingles and do a number on roof flashing. Getting your home’s roof inspected early in the fall will show if your roof needs any touch ups. It also pays to get it inspected after unusually severe storms. It’s easy to fix small patches of roof damage. The longer the damage goes undetected, the more serious it will be when it’s discovered.
You should be aware of weighted roof collapse even if it doesn’t typically snow for you. Roofs in warmer climates aren’t built to withstand much pressure. The weight of a heavy snowfall or a thick layer of ice (from hail or freezing rain) can pose a problem for the roof’s structure. Once the storm has settled, have an able-bodied person try their hand at lessening the weight on the roof. Don’t risk your life, however. Many roofers or storm damage restoration teams can safely dislodge heavy loads.
You want the lights to light up and the heaters to be plugged in, but you should be careful overloading circuits in your home. An overloaded circuit could cause a fire. Even if you avoid that fate, you could burn out important circuits by overloading them. Your freezer melting over the floor can cause winter property damage as easily as anything else. Space out where you plug things in, and use surge protectors when appropriate.
Prevention is a better cure than repair. Use the fall months to prepare your home for winter. You can have peace of mind going into the winter property damage season. Don’t let your home become a statistic.