Winters in Canada can create a whole slew of problems, from frozen water pipes to ice dams. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to avoid winter property damage. Knowing how to prevent freezing pipes is just one of the things you need to know amongst others.
Check Your Heating System Regularly
A heating system that is not maintained is asking for trouble and will create more damage than you can imagine, which can then be expensive to restore. Before it reaches that stage, make sure that everything is in order as per the manufacturer’s instructions and have the heating system serviced regularly. Most importantly, make sure there is enough ventilation and that the electric circuits are not overloaded.
Inspect Your Immediate Surroundings
Winter brings with it a fair share of storms, rain and fierce winds, all of which can weaken and snap tree branches and even entire trees, causing damage to your home and possible injury to your family members. To avoid winter property damage, start your maintenance early. Autumn is an excellent time to do an all-round inspection of your home and surrounding property and eliminate all potential risks, including doing your roof repair and trimming the trees.
If you are buying or selling a home, be sure to check the gutters and if in the winter, check for ice dams as they can cause damage to the roof and your gutters. Lisa Sinopoli, a senior real estate specialist in Toronto, says buying a home in the winter presents additional challenges that buyers need to be aware of.
Avoid Formation Of Ice Dams
When snow falls onto your roof, it starts to melt because of the heat inside the home. As this thawed out snow runs down the roof, it then refreezes when it reaches the edge where it can no longer feel the heat from inside the home. As this keeps happening, the snow keeps building up and forms a wall. This is called an ice dam. Ice dams can block your rain gutters, forcing the water to seep into the structural walls, weakening them. To avoid the formation of ice dams, it is important to insulate your attic floor, clean out your gutters and install gutter guards. Ice dams that damage and clog your gutters is also a main reason basements see water damage in the winter according to Jeff Healy of Nusite Contractors, a basement waterproofing contractor in Toronto.
How To Prevent Freezing Pipes
Frozen pipes are another common casualty in winter. Because of the extreme cold in Toronto, the water that flows through the pipes starts to freeze. When water freezes it expands. This expansion of the water results in a buildup of pressure causing the pipe to crack or burst. The best way to prevent freezing pipes is to ensure that all exposed pipes are well insulated by fitting them with insulation sleeves. Seal all holes in the wall that allow cold air to flow in the home. Outdoor caulking acts as an excellent sealing for this purpose. When it is particularly cold, facilitate the circulation of warm air around the pipes by opening the cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathroom.
If you have any plans of traveling and are going to be away for more than 4 days, ask a family member or a friend to come over regularly to check that the heat is on and all is okay. Many homeowners neglect to do this and come back from their travels to find themselves dealing with a burst pipe and a whole lot of cleaning up and repairs.
Don’t wait till the winter has set in to do any kind of maintenance. The only way to avoid winter property damage is to take preventive steps in advance, well before the winter has set in.