There is no doubt about it, winter is coming – are you ready? Property owners face many risks throughout the year and property damage can occur for any number of reasons. However, the winter season can provide some unique challenges and obstacles for even the most vigilant homeowner. We may experience heavy snow, ice accumulation, freezing temperatures and high winds, which can cause potential property damage. Basic communication services and power and heat sources can be knocked out for days until usage is safe again. As a restoration company, we see a lot of home damage coming out of winter, and though we are happy to help you when needed, we still want you to be aware of these winter-oriented problems, so that you’re better prepared for what Mother Nature dishes out.
Damage Related to Snow and Ice
Freezing winter weather can bring with it the potential for serious property damage. Snow accumulation is perhaps the most common risk property owners may face in winter, and its potential for damage cannot be overlooked. Roof failure is a common occurrence after winter snow storms; snow may appear light and fluffy, but in actuality produces substantial strain on roof surfaces. A 10-inch snow accumulation equals about five pounds per square foot of roof surface. The average roof can support about four feet of fresh snow. If the roof already has significant snow accumulation, if there is ice present, or if the total snowfall exceeds the capacity of the roof, it can and will fail.
Ice is even heavier, and an ice storm can coat roofs and surrounding structures with a heavy layer. A common failure point is when wet snow and rain freezes when the needle drops; water expands as it freezes, opening up cracks in masonry, roofing surfaces, and structural supports. Ice can also block off drainage systems, resulting in “ice dams” that force water into the interior of buildings via ceilings and walls.
Snow and ice accumulation on overhanging trees often lead to winter-related damage. Trees may break or fall onto building roofs, causing significant damage. This is especially true when trees surrounding a structure are in poor health or have not been pruned by qualified tree professionals.
Damage Related to Freezing Temperatures
Snow and ice are not the only perils. Freezing temperatures can burst pipes, creating situations that may damage or destroy significant interior portions of homes and their contents through flooding. A burst pipe in an unoccupied structure, or over a weekend, can be especially devastating. This risk is compounded by failures in heating systems; if a home’s heating system is not working, the potential for frozen or burst pipes rises.
Water seeping into small cracks and expanding as it freezes (Frost Heave) is yet another risk factor that may lead to an increase in property damage. Frost heave can damage walls, foundations, and building supports, leading to unsafe conditions. If frost heave damages sidewalks, tripping hazards may result in visitors to a property being injured.
Damage Related to Strong Winds
Winter storm warnings are issued when winds are less than 35 mph; but, if the storm consists of winds that exceed this speed, it becomes a blizzard warning. When strong winds accompany accumulations of snow and ice it can add stress and enhance the potential for tree damage and power outages. No matter what you might do to prepare for wintry conditions, strong winds can still rip through your area and cause devastating damages. Intense winter storms bring powerful wind gusts that lead to exterior and interior physical damage, leaving your house exposed to moisture damage.
We Can Help
If inclement weather or a severe winter storm inflicts damage to your property, in spite of your efforts, it’s important to act quickly and call Xtreme Home Improvement for help. A major risk with winter damage is that the full extent goes undetected until spring, leading to additional issues and costly repairs. Whether it’s water damage in your home’s attic due to ice dams or a fire sprinkler system freezing resulting in a flood, our restoration and repair services can provide prompt and professional winter damage cleanup. Our team of certified professionals have the restoration experience, expertise, and the resources to remediate winter-related damage. So, you will be able to enjoy the warmth and coziness of your home throughout the rest of the winter, despite the unfortunate event.