Prepare for Wet Winter Weather
Winter months in Minnesota can put your house at risk; take steps to recognize and fix potential problems before the heavy snows. Prevent damage from rainwater and snowmelt by ensuring the exterior materials of your home are properly maintained. Take advantage of a nice day to walk around, identify, and eliminate sources of moisture in the common places where intrusion occurs.
As your major barrier against the elements, any breach in the structure can lead to expensive repairs. Address potential problems now:
- Keep gutters clean.
- Leaks are particularly common around chimneys, plumbing vents, and attic vents; replace any failed shingles. To trace the source of a visible ceiling leak, measure its location from the nearest outside wall and then locate this point in the attic using a measuring tape.
- Once up in the attic, check for air leaks from the house and shield the house heat from escaping. Inadequate insulation can lead to ice damming. (The warm air causes the snow at the top of the roof to melt, then it ices over again when it reaches the outer edge.)
Water that freezes inside pipes in cold area of the home—most often in places like basements, attics, or crawl spaces—leads to pressure and burst pipes. Inspect and insulate pipes from all potential freeze areas, seal holes that might let in colder air, and leave on at a trickle on particularly cold days or nights.
Even at temperatures above freezing, you are still at risk for leaks. Check dripping faucets, “sweating” pipes, clogged drains, and faulty drainage systems. Scrutinize washing machine hoses for bulges, cracks or wetness. Check the water heater for signs of rust or dampness on the floor.
Snowmelt, rain, or other weather concerns could pool around the edges of the house and lead to basement flooding. Properly landscaped homes should have yards that slope away from the house, but flat or down-sloped yards could cause you a particular risk in bad winter weather.
Make sure basement windows and doors have built-up barriers or flood shields. Inspect sump pumps to ensure they work properly; a battery backup system is recommended. (Discharge as far away from the house as possible.)
Around the Perimeter
The prevent destruction from snowmelt, ensure the exterior materials of your home are properly constructed and maintained.
- Windows and doors: Check for leaks and peeling paint which can be a sign of moisture getting into the wood. Search for discolorations in caulking and swelling in surrounding materials.
- Flashing: Inspect the thin metal strip around doors, windows, thresholds, chimneys, and roofs; flashing is designed to seal spaces where two different building surfaces meet.
- Vents: Clothes dryer, gable, attic and exhaust vents should all have hoods and exhaust to the exterior.
Expansion joints between bricks, pipes, and other building materials absorb movement. If expansion joints are not in good condition, water intrusion can occur. If there are cracks in the joint sealant, remove the old sealant, install a backer rod and fill with a new sealant.Exterior walls should be kept well-painted and sealed. Don’t place compost or leaf piles against the outside walls. Landscape features should not include soil or other bedding material mounded up against walls.
Check for tell-tale signs in wood materials such as walls, beams or floors; any wood exposed to the exterior can potentially lead to termite infestation.
Contact the Experts
24Restore offers a fast response; someone will be in route to your home within one hour. For more than 15 years, 24Restore’s technicians are certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, Restoration Certification (IICRC) to handle all kinds of water problems.
If your home does suffer from winter storm damage, don’t let it sit overnight or wait to hear from your insurance company. Contact 24Restore anytime by calling (612) 255-9578; the on-call emergency team is always available. Wind, hail, lightning, flooding, heavy rains, and freezes can destroy your home and damage your belongings; 24Restore can quickly help clean-up the mess left behind.