10 Ways The Cold Weather Can Damage Your Home

The snow and freezing temperatures can ruin your mood at home. The season of harsh cold weather can stretch your home to its limits, from freezing up your water pipes to making your driveway a dangerous slip and slide hazard. The toll of this weather on homes can be seen in the statistics recorded in 2020, showing that homeowners lost about $1.1 billion in insured losses. Understandably, this is not comforting news to any homeowner, which is why you need to know what to protect your home and fix any issues that could make it even more vulnerable. But to do this, you would need to know the damage your home is likely to face during the season. Here are the ten ways the winter weather can damage your home.

  1. Damage your HVAC system 

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The buildup of ice and snow can cause your HVAC system to shut down, leaving you and your family in cold frustration. The sudden shut down of your HVAC system would mean poor air ventilation and, more importantly, no heat! Instead of waiting for the worst to happen, be sure to hire HVAC professionals to conduct a thorough maintenance check of your system. This would ensure that relevant damages are repaired, and the proper measures are taken to keep it operational during the winter.

  1. A crack in your foundation

You may have more significant problems on your hands even if your gutter system survives the ice and snow buildup during the winter. According to experts, a split gutter downspout caused by frozen rainwater can be a significant problem by causing leaks and running water in your home. The running water can enter existing cracks in your foundations and cause further damage when the ice melts.

  1. Mold growth

Contrary to what you may have thought, mold and mildew are not problems you usually experience during the summer. If your home is poorly insulated, it is easy for cold air to come into your warm home. The mixture of cold and warm creates condensation. This means that water particles would be trapped around the home, creating the ideal environment for mold growth. Therefore, it is essential to keep all areas clean, ensure good air circulation, replace defective mortar, and, more importantly, take immediate steps when you notice any sign of condensation on your pipes, windows, and building walls.

  1. Chipped steps

Your front door steps can suffer similar damage to your driveway during the winter. The cold temperatures, snow, and ice could cause your front steps to experience cracks, chips, crumbling concrete, and loose bricks. For this reason, it is advisable to use a shovel with a rubber blade and avoid using agents such as rock salt to break the ice, as this can have adverse effects. You might want to consider safer alternatives to protect and maintain your front steps. Instead of using just salt, you could add hot water while spreading the salt on the ice. You may also use running alcohol or ammonium sulfate, which is present in most commercial fertilizers.

  1. Damage your driveway

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The snow and frost mean you have to keep shoveling away at your driveway or apply ice melt to the asphalt or concrete of your driveway to guard against slips and falls. Although this may provide some safety for you and increase your home appeal at this time, these measures are damaging your driveway. To protect your family and your driveway, you should consider using a rubber blade shovel and avoid de-icing supplies with harsh chemicals which can corrode your driveway materials. You should fill in cracks and chips on your driveway before the cold kicks in to prevent further damage. 

  1. Broken gutters

With winter approaching, it is important to ensure your gutters are clean to prevent them from being clogged up with debris and ice. Despite clean gutters, the weight of snow and ice buildup can pull down your gutter system, causing it to break off! Even new and freshly installed gutters can suffer a similar fate when snow gathers on your solar panels. They quickly slide off and take down your gutters along with it. Your rain gutters are an essential part of your home and must not be overlooked. It is crucial to ensure that your gutters are correctly installed and robust to handle harsh conditions.  

  1. Bursting pipes

Contrary to what you may think, the pipes in your home exterior are not the only ones exposed to damage from the dipping temperatures. The exposed pipes, especially those in your basement and attic, are more vulnerable to freezing. Yet, it doesn't take so much work to protect them from bursting. You can easily do this by using insulation, heat cables, or heat tape to seal off any drafty areas and keep your pipes warm to allow continuous water flow.     

  1. Rodents infestation

When the cold weather sets in, moisture can cause your chimney to crumble, just as snow or ice accumulation can cause your chimney cap to fall off and create an easy entry for rodents and critters to get comfortable in your home. Pests crave warmth, shelter, and food, which can drive them to your home when it's freezing outside. Sadly, these pests not only get comfortable but begin to chew their way through everything in your home,

They can also remove enough insulation to freeze and burst what should be a well-covered pipe. A pest infestation is the last thing you want to deal with during winter. Consider speaking with chimney and masonry experts to check your chimney before the cold months arrive.

  1. Peeling grout

It is easier to assume that the grout around your home tiles can survive the weather. Yet, this would probably not be the case, significantly when grout can fall victim to the freezing temperatures. The grout surface designs make it watertight yet it can peel away when exposed to severe cold when drying. After a while, this can cause mold problems and damage the drywall, plaster, and house wood frames.

  1. Damaged roofing

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Stormy winds can cause trees and branches to fall on the roof and cause damage to other parts of your home. These element exposures increase your home utility costs while leaving you vulnerable to mold problems from the melting snow and rain. The wind can also choke your gutters with fallen leaves, obstruct water flow and cause leaks in the home, flood your basements and crack your home foundations.

Winter can be a beautiful time, but not if your home is giving you a hard time. For this reason, you should find ways to protect your home against these ten winter threats.

Photo by Ricardo Esquivel from Pexels

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