Winter Time and Home Floods

Posted at July 28th, 2015
Posted by Gizmode
Categories: Prevent Water Damage
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Winter can be a dangerous time for the homeowner that doesn’t take precautions to prevent home flooding and damage.  There are a number of ways that you can protect your home and reduce the possibility of costly flooding and damage to your home and possessions.

These tips include:

  • Turning off the water supply to outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems – While many homeowners remember to wind up their outdoor hoses and store them for the winter, they often forget to turn off the water supply to the faucets that those hoses connect to or to in-ground sprinkler systems.  If the water supply is left on, the pipes can still contain water, which can freeze during winter and eventually burst – leaving water and damage behind.  You should turn off the supply inside the home and then leave the outside valve open just a bit to allow any water that was still in the pipes to drip out.
  • Checking Insulation in the House – for people that don’t live in new construction homes, it is important to make sure that you have enough insulation in your walls and attic.  R-30 insulation is considered the minimum level for those that have cold winters.  Not only can extra insulation prevent pipes from bursting and flooding damage, but it can also reduce your heating bill.
  • Keeping Your Home Warm When You’re Gone – if you’re going on vacation to escape the cold, make sure to protect your home as well.  While it’s a great idea to turn your furnace down while you’re gone to save money on heating bills, don’t turn it down below 60 degrees or you’ll risk pipes freezing and breaking.
  • Having a Friend Check Your Home – if you’re going to be away overnight or for an extended period of time during cold weather season, ask a friend or neighbor to check your home once or twice a day to catch any problems early on.  Make sure that person also knows where the valve is located to shut all the water off in the home in case of a problem.
  • Removing Snow from Your Roof – it’s important if you’re in an area that gets a lot of heavy snow to remember not to let it build up on your roof.  You can use a snow rake or electrical heating tapes to remove the snow and prevent ice build-up on your roof and in your gutters.  This can also prevent dangerous flooding and falls around your home when all that snow and ice begins to melt.
  • Patch and Caulk Windows, Doors and Walls – in addition to making sure you have enough insulation in your walls, it’s also important to make sure that your windows, doors, and walls are tightly sealed.  If there are gaps for wind and snow to get in, it can freeze any pipes that are located in that area and lead to damage/flooding.
  • Insulate Pipes – if you have pipes in areas that are not heated at all or not very well, such as basements, garages, or crawl spaces, you should make sure to insulate the pipes.  You can purchase materials to do this at your local hardware or plumbing supply store.  Also, make sure to check the insulation around all your pipes regularly to make sure it is still protecting them securely.
  • Open Cabinet Doors – leave cabinet doors open on kitchen and bathroom sinks that are near exterior walls in order to allow heat to get inside and keep the pipes warm.
  • Installing a Water Shut-off System – homeowners can also install a system that will automatically shut-off their water if a problem is detected.  This type of system can give you piece of mind, particularly if you’re away from home often.

Winter can bring dangerous and expensive problems, including flooding, to homeowners that aren’t prepared for the cold weather.  It is important to take adequate preparations to make sure their pipes don’t freeze in the cold weather.  By using these quick tips, you can protect not only your home, but also your belongings, from damage or loss.

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