3 Ways to Prevent Water Damage in Winter

how to prevent water damage in winter

In addition to chilly temperatures and snowy scenery, winter weather brings an increased risk of water damage to your home.

Winter is notorious for being cold and wet, and large amounts of snow and ice can have severe consequences. With snow falling, melting, freezing and then adding more layers of snow on top of that, many things can go wrong.

Learn the top causes of winter water damage and how to reduce your risk from the experts at ATJ’s Home Improvement. This winter, spend less time worrying about water damage and more time enjoying the season with your family and friends.

Follow the tips we share with you below to protect your home.

# 1 Clean gutters

Cleaning gutters is an easy job to put off. What people fail to realize is that this simple task can actually prevent future water damage.

Your gutter works by directing water away from your home’s foundation. But if there’s a build-up of debris in your gutter, it might not be able to do its job properly. As a result, water may spill through the roof, into your foundation and down to your basement.

Remove leaves and other debris, which can clog gutters and send water pouring down the side of your house or under your roof. Also, inspect your roof and repair or replace missing or damaged shingles, which can cause water to come in through the roof.

# 2 Protect your pipes

Burst or frozen pipes is among the top 3 causes of winter water damage. Frozen pipes build up significant pressure, which can lead to cracks and flooding once the ice melts.

Make sure your outer walls and any exposed pipes are properly insulated. Insulate accessible pipes with pipe insulation materials, especially in attics and crawl spaces.

Caulk cracks and holes you see in your exterior walls to prevent cold air from reaching the pipes. Shield exposed pipes from freezing temperatures by wrapping them with the insulating tape or old towels.

When it gets very cold, keep cabinet or closet doors open to help prevent pipes there from freezing.

When you plan to be away from home for several days, leave the faucets lightly dripping and keep the cabinets under your sink open to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes. Doing so will keep water flowing and can help prevent your pipes from freezing.

# 3 Get a detection system

A minor water leak can cause expensive damage if it remains undetected—if the leak is behind a wall, say, or if it happens while you’re away from home.

For maximum protection against hidden or sudden leaks, install a detection system that can monitor water pressure and automatically signal a water shut-off in the event of a leak or blocked pipe. 

This technology can reduce the amount of water damage caused by burst or frozen pipes in winter. It can send an alert to your smartphone if the temperature in areas of your home near pipes dips below freezing.

The lowest-cost leak detectors include sensors you can set up under sinks or near a water heater, dishwasher or refrigerator; they sound an alarm if they detect any moisture.