Winter storm damage can be costly for homeowners to repair. Storms that raged across the country in 2020 caused more than $1.1 billion in insured losses. Since snow, ice storms, sleet, freezing, and flooding are common during the cold season, homeowners should be prepared to fix winter storm damage.
What types of winter storm damage occur?
- Frozen Pipes
Frozen pipes can occur when indoor temperatures drop to below 40 degrees Fahrenheit or outdoor temperatures dip to below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Outdoor pipes are likely to freeze as well as uninsulated indoor pipes, especially those located in unheated parts of the home.
Outside, the pipes most likely to freeze include water sprinkler lines, outdoor hose bibs, and swimming pool supply lines. Indoors, the pipes that are most vulnerable to freezing are those in the basement, crawl space, and garage—areas that are normally left unheated or partially heated.
Pipes under cabinets or that run along exterior walls are also susceptible to freezing. Pipes that freeze are at risk for rupturing and subsequently spewing gallons of water throughout the home. The resulting water damage can cost homeowners $5000 or more in repairs.
- Ice Dams
Uneven snowmelt on a rooftop can collect near the edges and refreeze into a dam. These ice dams prevent additional snowmelt from draining off the roof. The resulting standing water can seep under shingles and cause interior water damage to ceilings and walls. Ice dams also tear off shingles.
- Roof Damage
Ice dams are not the only causes of roof damage. Large accumulations of heavy snow can cause a roof to collapse. During cold snaps, water can seep into cracks; when the water freezes, it expands, causing larger cracks in the roof. Cycles of freezing and thawing worsen existing rooftop cracks.
The weight of snow is determined by the amount of water it contains—rather than its depth. Warm temperatures will lead to denser snow. Wet snow can weigh nearly 21 pounds per square foot, which makes it important that homeowners remove snow from the roof to prevent collapse.
How do homeowners repair winter storm damage?
- Water damage from burst pipes
The water damage that results from a burst pipe should be immediately addressed to prevent the destruction from spreading. Moisture is quickly absorbed into porous materials, like wood and drywall, and damp building materials lose their structural integrity; building collapse is a dangerous possibility.
A water damage restoration company is the solution to a water damaged home. Technicians clean up the damage by first extracting the excess moisture and subsequently drying the property with powerful dehumidifiers. The home is sanitized to remove waterborne bacteria and become habitable again.
- Water damage from ice dams
Water damage from ice dams should also be promptly repaired to prevent additional destruction of the home. The first step is to identify the water damaged ceiling; this may be done by seeing blistering or peeling paint or noticing bulging, discolored spots along the ceiling.
If water damage is located directly beneath the roof, the homeowner can suspect an ice dam is responsible. Remove the damaged ceiling and dry the area with fans. Replace small areas with new pieces of drywall. Replace the entire drywall panel if the damage is greater than 12 square inches.
- Roof damage
Freeze-thaw cycles will accelerate damage to the roof. Homeowners who notice damaged areas under shingles should replace them. Replace damaged shingles with new ones in the same color and style. Slide the new shingles under the upper courses of shingles and nail them in place.
How do homeowners prevent winter storm damage?
- Insulate Frozen Pipes
Insulated pipes remain protected from winter’s subfreezing temperatures. Wrap pipes with insulation materials so that they do not freeze when temps plummet. Consider adding heat to rooms when chilly temperatures are expected. Wrap electrical heating tape around pipes as a last resort.
Further prevent frozen pipes by opening cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate. Drip water from a faucet served by exterior pipes; even a trickle of moving water keeps pipes from freezing. Close garage doors, and set the thermostat to the same temperature during the day and night.
- Remove Rooftop Snow
Removing snow and ice from the rooftop is the most practical way to prevent ice dams from forming. Homeowners can hire a professional service to handle the task. A long-term solution is to increase ventilation in the attic to ensure temperature fluctuations do not adversely affect the roof.
- Inspect the Roof
Regular roof inspections will pinpoint defects before they require major repairs or even an entire roof replacement. Homeowners should be aware that inspecting the roof is a minor price to pay per square foot, whereas an emergency roof repair will cost hundreds of dollars per square foot.
Old Man Winter arrives every year, so it is critical that homeowners protect and maintain at-risk parts of the property to avoid winter storm damage. When water damage occurs despite maintenance efforts, call ServiceMaster S&R Systems for immediate and expert water damage restoration.
Our team of experienced water damage cleanup technicians arrive onsite and assess the extent of water damage. We remove standing water to prevent the spread of damage. Drying and dehumidifying the damp areas are completed as quickly as possible to restore the home to its pre-loss condition.
ServiceMaster S&R Systems’ water damage cleanup process includes essential mold prevention services, when needed. Our specialists clean and repair damaged belongings and areas of the home affected by water damage. Additionally, we work with your homeowner’s insurance to speed up claims.
Our comprehensive water damage cleanup services include finding and fixing the water source. Homeowners can expect complete project management when working with us. We partner with a network of professionals for plumbing repairs, foundation repairs, and the removal of mold infestations.
Choose ServiceMaster S&R Systems for our commitment to serving area home and business owners with integrity, speed, and professionalism. We are available to serve property owners in Naperville, Aurora, and Joliet, Illinois. Call us immediately when winter storm damage strikes.