Illinois is home to some of the country’s worst winter weather. You can’t change that fact, but you can learn to protect your home from severe winter weather. Keep these tips in mind as the weather becomes more severe in the coming months.
Minimize Damage from Melting Snow
Heavy snow poses a threat to your home, both as it accumulates and as it melts. Protect your home from severe winter weather including heavy snow:
- Keep an eye out for substantial snow accumulation on your roof. Rather than remove the snow yourself, which could be dangerous or potentially damage the shingles, hire a snow-removal professional.
- Shovel out snow that accumulates in basement stairwells and window wells. If left to melt, the resulting water could seep into the lower levels of your home and cause structural damage.
Reduce the Risk of Ice Dams
Ice dams form on the roof when snow melts and runs down to the roof’s edge. It’s much cooler there, and the water freezes. This ice forms a dam, blocking water from draining off the roof for days or even weeks as the temperatures warm up in the day and cool off again at night.
Ice dams can damage the roof as water freezes and thaws, separating the shingles and allowing water to penetrate into the attic. There, it damages insulation, rots wood, and runs down the inside walls of your house, leading to mold growth, structural damage and unsightly water stains. Use these tips to protect your home from severe winter weather resulting in ice dams:
- Ventilate the attic. This helps keep the space closer to the exterior temperature. Unventilated attics accumulate heat from the warm home below, which melts snow and ice on the roof from underneath. This is the leading cause of ice dams and is easy to prevent. Ensure that soffit and rafter vents are not obstructed.
- Insulate the attic floor to reduce the amount of heat that rises from your home into the attic. Make sure every inch of the attic floor (except for soffit vents) is covered with several inches of fiberglass rolls or cellulose insulation. Of course, in addition to helping prevent ice dams, adequate insulation helps lower your heating bills.
- Keep the gutters clear of leaves and other debris to allow water to flow off the roof more easily instead of forming an ice dam.
Prevent Burst Pipes
Plumbing lines are prone to bursting in the winter when water freezes inside them and causes pressure to build up between the expanding ice and the closed faucet. Implement the following to protect your home from severe winter weather resulting in burst pipes:
- Insulate pipes traveling through unconditioned areas, such as the attic or crawl space, since these are especially prone to freezing and bursting. Insulation sleeves are specifically designed for this purpose.
- Seal cracks found in the foundation and outer walls located near water pipes. Caulk rated for outdoor use is the best tool for the job.
- Keep under-sink cabinet doors open on excessively cold nights to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.
- Run a slow trickle of lukewarm water at night from faucets connected to pipes traveling through unconditioned spaces.
Recover from a Severe Winter Storm
Some storms are so ruthless you may be asked by the authorities to evacuate the area. Once the immediate danger has passed and you return to your home, do the following:
- Make sure the building is structurally sound before you re-enter it.
- Disconnect electronic devices and move them to a dry location. Do not use electricity or natural gas appliances until your utility company says it’s safe to do so.
- Prevent further water intrusion by securing the exterior. This may include boarding up broken windows, tacking down plastic sheets against openings in the roof, and making other temporary repairs.
- Remove standing water from inside the building with a wet/dry shop vacuum. Ventilate the home and run fans and dehumidifiers to help dry the interior. Contact a remediation company if necessary.
- Remove water-damaged materials and see what you can salvage.
- Act quickly during the recovery process to reduce the amount of structural damage and reduce the chance of rust, rot and mold that develops in wet situations.
With these tips to protect your home from severe winter weather, it’s less likely your home will suffer structural damage this season, no matter how bad the storms become. For more useful tips, please contact us at Roberts Heating & Air Conditioning in Northbrook today.