Alair Homes

One of the most overlooked home improvement projects is gearing up for winter. Most people are busy with preparing for the holidays, but forget to take steps to minimize threats of ice and snow accumulation. These hazards can produce significant damage to several areas of your home, but you can be equipped to deal with them from your roof to your foundation.

Ice Dams

A well-insulated attic is ideal for energy consumption, but if it’s not well-ventilated, the heat will melt ice and snow on the roof. Melting snow will gather at the edges and can re-freeze. When that happens, the ice will expand and get forced back under the roof, into your attic, or even into your walls from the ice dams. Water can cause rotting wood, mold and mildew growth, and collapsed ceilings.

To minimize the risks to roofs:

  1. Be sure that the floor of your attic has adequate insulation. You want to keep the heat in your home, where it won’t hit your roof.
  2. Check all ventilation areas and if they are obstructed, clear them out. Periodically check them and clear snow and ice after a storm.
  3. Keep your gutters clean and free of debris such as leaves and sticks.
  4. Have your roof inspected before the snow starts. They can point out any areas that may be especially susceptible to ice damage and advise on how to fix them before you face costly repairs.
  5. Trim overhanging trees and branches. Ice can accumulate and weigh them down, causing the ice to melt on your roof, or even worse, the tree could fall on your roof causing significant damage.
  6. Remove snow from your roof if it exceeds 2 feet and ice if over 2 inches. It’s best to hire a professional to handle this.

Frozen Pipes

This is another problem homeowners face when they don’t prepare in advance. Whether they occur naturally from extreme cold temperatures, or because of an extended power outage, ice in your pipes can spell disaster and a little bit of prevention is well worth the effort now.

To prevent frozen pipes:

  1. Closely examine your foundation and all outside walls for holes or cracks and fill with caulking. Take notice of any water pipes and caulk around them as well.
  2. Don’t overlook pipes in the basement, crawlspace, or attic because these areas will be most exposed to the cold.
  3. Purchase insulated sleeves and wrap the before mentioned vulnerable pipes.
  4. If you do experience a power outage, pipes can freeze quickly. Take extra steps such as allowing a small amount of water to flow through pipes that are near the exterior of your home. It’s also wise to open the doors of cabinets where pipes are located so that heat from your home can reach them.

Don’t Forget the Foundation

While shoveling walkways, sidewalks, and driveways, homeowners often forget that snow removal around the house is just as important. Basements can see the brunt of damage after a winter storm because of melting snow. Every 10 inches of snow can produce 1 inch of water when it melts. If you experience a large accumulation it’s best to be prepared for possible flooding.

To ward off foundation damage:

  1. Make sure your downspouts are directed 20 feet or more from your home. You don’t want the melting snow to run anywhere near your foundation.
  2. It may be wise to have a plan to drain melting snow if you find yourself in a predicament. A sump pump is a good solution.
  3. As with your roof, it’s a good idea to have your basement and foundation inspected for cracks and holes. Caulk any obvious ones, and call in the experts for larger problems. Water will find a way into any weak areas in your basement, particularly in corners and sides where the wall meets the base of the foundation.
  4. Remove snow that’s 3 feet around your home. This may seem overkill, but if you know you have foundational issues to begin with, it’s another measure you can take right away to reduce expensive repairs.

While cold winters in London, Ontario are inevitable and often unpredictable, these precautions will go far in protecting your home from damage. If you discover that these areas are in need of a renovation, Alair Homes London would love to come and provide a free 120 point inspection and quote.