Do Ice and Snow Damage Your House?


Shoveling snow and salting sidewalks are chores synonymous with winter. But sidewalks aren’t the only aspects of your home that can be affected by winter weather. Here is a closer look at how ice and snow damage your house.

Stress on your roof

Whether lightly or heavily, it is not necessarily how the snow falls that poses the problem — it’s the total amount of the ice crystals. A substantial snowfall or ice storm equate to added pressure on your roof.

“Condensation and freezing temperatures can cause severe damage on your roof, including ice dams that lead to roof leaks, strong winds that loosen shingles, and icicles that put stress on your roof,” warns Jamie Birdwell-Branson and Jennifer Noonan, writers for BobVila.com.

Pressure in your pipes

Although the pipes in your home may be able to withstand low temperatures due to proper plumbing winterization, the outdoor faucets or garage plumbing may not, according to Mikayla Borchert, writer for TheFamilyHandyman.com. When it gets super cold outside, your pipes in your home may freeze and then burst. A burst pipe will flood your home with water, not only causing damage to your plumbing but also deteriorating the flooring and surfaces the water drenches. To help prevent your pipes from freezing, Borchert recommends wrapping them with insulation and tape, and leaving your faucets on at a slight trickle if you’re going to be out of town during the winter.

A burst pipe isn’t the only source of flooding you have to watch out for, though. If the sump pump in your basement isn’t working or winterized well, melting snow can easily seep its way into the area, warn Birdwell-Branson and Noonan.

Strain on your concrete

By springtime, you may notice new or bigger potholes along your route, cracks in your sidewalk, or fissures in your concrete driveway. The rain, snow, and ice that pelts the ground in winter fills cracks, freezes, and then expands. The only way to make sure your concrete’s fractures don’t become major splits is by filling them before the seasons change, advises Borchert.

Weathering the storm

According to TheBalance.com writer Mila Araujo, the most common types of damage that may be covered by your homeowner’s policy include wind, frozen pipes, ice dams, power failure, fallen trees, and roof damage. Flood damage, which can be an issue in winter, may not be covered, she warns. It is important to review your policy to see what it does and doesn’t cover so you can prepare for winter and recover from the storm.

Don’t let winter destroy your home. By understanding the damage it can cause on your home, you can better protect it.

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