Winter can be beautiful. However, the sometimes harsh conditions that accompany this season can cause significant headaches for homeowners if they do not take the time to prepare for the potential hazards that accompany the beauty.
Taking the time to protect your home before and during the coldest months will save you time and money in repair costs when spring arrives.
Protect Your Roof From Ice Dams
Ice dams are the thick ridges of ice that can build up along the eaves of your home. Ice dams are caused by a buildup of snow on your roof that melts, runs down the roof, and refreezes. The thick ice that remains frozen on the roof can tear off your gutters, loosen your shingles, and cause water damage in your home as snow continues to build on your roof and leak into the attack and walls. Ice dams can also lead to mold in your home, among other significant issues.
Preventing ice dams is essential and begins with keeping your roof colder. If your roof is cold, snow will not melt as quickly, and ice dams will not have the opportunity to form. The solution is in your attic and requires additional insulation, increased ventilation, and the closing of any leaks.
If ice dams have already formed on your eaves, there are some steps you can take to get rid of them.
- Invest in a snow rake. A snow rake does precisely what you would expect—rakes the newly fallen snow from your roof before it has the opportunity to melt and then refreeze as ice. Always use caution or hire a professional.
- Use heated cables. Heated cables attached to your roof’s edge cause the snow to melt and runoff along the proper channels.
- Use calcium chloride—not rock salt—to help the ice melt.
- Hire a professional ice dam removal crew. We are experts in ice dam removal and will happily take the worry of ice dam removal off your hands. Hiring a highly trained ice dam removal crew is the best, safest, and most effective way to remove ice dams and prevent further damage to your home.
Clean Your Gutters
Gutter cleaning tends to be thought of as a spring, summer, and fall job. However, cleaning your gutters before winter will help them do their intended job—keep water from damaging your roof and entering your home. With the increased accumulation of snow and water during winter, it is critical to make sure your gutters are clear from debris and able to get the water away from your home quickly and efficiently. Hiring a highly trained gutter cleaning crew to clean your gutters twice yearly will help to ensure that your gutters will do their job when you need them most.
Failure to clean your gutters before winter means that the leaves, branches, and other debris that have collected in them will freeze as the temperatures drop and block the melted snow from flowing down your gutters and away from your home. The additional weight of the debris along with the ice and water may cause sagging or, worse, gutters that tear away from your home. Clean gutters will prevent expensive repairs.
Secure and Disconnect Outdoor Water Sources
A garden hose that is left attached to the spigot is a water bomb just waiting to freeze and burst. Simply shutting off the water is not enough as water will remain stranded in the hose. When that water freezes, it can bust open not only the hose but also the spigot, potentially releasing gallons of water into your home. Detach, drain, store the hoses until spring, turn off the water supply inside your home that feeds the outdoor water sources, and be sure to open and drain them thoroughly.
Snow Shovel, Plow, or Use Deicers on Sidewalks and Driveways
Winter brings dangerously slick driveways and sidewalks. To protect yourself and your family from injury, as well as neighbors utilizing the sidewalk, it’s important to quickly and efficiently clear snow and ice from these areas. If you live in an area with relatively small snow amounts, shoveling may be a reasonable way to handle clearing it all winter. If you live in areas that get dumped on, snow blowers or snow plowing may be a more sensible option.
Ice is the real culprit. Ice on your driveway or sidewalks sticks like a bandage to a cut and can be painful to remove. Deicers are chemicals that can break or even prevent a bond between the ice and the concrete, making it much easier to clear away. These chemicals are not meant to replace shoveling as they may be toxic and can damage the concrete. Shoveling or plowing is the safest method. But, for ice that is insistent on staying put, using deicers sparingly and according to the instructions can be effective.
Protect Your Air Conditioner Compressor
The icicles we all find so pretty can cause preventable damage if they fall onto equipment outside your home. Protecting your A/C compressor or any other equipment is as simple as placing a piece of plywood on the top of it until the last of the snow and ice are gone.
For more expert advice and assistance, or to learn more about the services we provide, contact the professionals at your local Squeegee Squad.