The destructive power of water is often overlooked until it affects you directly, which is often the case with winter water damage. This type of damage is sneaky, because frozen water doesn’t seem particularly dangerous and works very slowly, but it can cause massive problems from melting and expansion.
In order to avoid dealing with this problem, these are a few preparations you can make during the fall and winter months to keep your property safe and dry. Being proactive with the required maintenance is also a great way keep tenants happy:
Clear Out Ice Dams
Ice dams are walls of ice that form on your roof when water runs down and refreezes in the same spot on the edge of the roof. Because the dam doesn’t let water move past, it can force the water inside your home, causing quite a bit of expensive damage.
The best way to clear out these dams is to make sure they don’t form in the first place. Clean your gutters so there’s nowhere for water to pool up and freeze, and make sure that any rooms below the roof are well insulated to try to keep the heat inside instead of escaping to cause more melting and refreezing. You might also consider extra measures if you’re in a particularly cold climate, like installing gutter guards or water-resistant materials below your roof.
Watch Out For Frozen Pipes
Water in pipes can become frozen when they’re near colder temperatures (like in attics) or even completely exposed to the weather. This frozen water can then cause a pressure buildup between the ice blockage and the closed faucet – consequently, your pipe bursts and causes a mess of damage.
Keep your pipes clear of freezing problems in a few different ways. You can wrap insulation around them, caulk any cracks or holes near them, and occasionally run water through pipes that seem particularly liable to freezing.
Look For And Fill Gaps
We’re not just talking about gaps around pipes here; almost anywhere there’s a gap, opening, or crack in your structure (like around windows or even in your paint), water and frost can find it. What usually happens next is that the frost keeps accumulating and expanding to the point where the gaps only become bigger.
Do a thorough outdoor inspection of your property and note the places that need to be fixed. Run to the hardware store and pick up caulk or other filling material that will withstand the temperatures and exposure, and fill in the holes when the temperature will help set the material properly.
Ice forming on trees may not seem like a big deal, but falling tree branches can do serious damage to your property, vehicles, or even to yourself and others. The situation only worsens if you live in an area prone to ice storms where trees can rapidly become encased in layers of frozen water.
Before you get too much snowfall or ice, make sure you remove any dead branches off of your trees, as well as limbs that should be trimmed in general. If you don’t know how to do this yourself, don’t hesitate to hire a professional trimmer. The cost may seem unnecessary at first, but you’ll appreciate not having to pay for the problems your neighbors are dealing with because they didn’t take care of their trees.
Keep Walkways Clear
Everyone knows that ice on walkways is dangerous because people can slip and fall, but water does far more damage than that. No matter what your walkway or driveway is made of, failing to clear off ice and snow will cause it to crack and heave.
Clear away any snow that falls on your walkways, and put down salt to help melt the ice. If you have large accumulations of ice that you simply can’t remove for some reason, rope off the area and put up warning signs so no one walks on it.
Don’t let the slowness of winter water damage fool you into thinking that you don’t have to take preventative measures. Following all the steps above will help ensure you keep a safe, dry property when winter comes around, helping you maximize the return on your rental.