Ice Dams, Burst Pipes and Vapors-OH MY!

It’s been a beautiful fall, but winter and the holiday season arrived in tandem on Thanksgiving Day, and actual snow flurries on Monday!

Ahhhh, Yes. Winter/Holidays-the season of so much to do, so little time….well, a very little bit of planning now in your home can save you loads of time, money and heartache down the line.

Charles Brown, a State Farm property and casualty agent in New Rochelle has seen first-hand the damage winter weather can cause.  Helping prevent loss is his goal; here are some of his favorite tips on trouble-proofing your home this season.

Ice Dams form in your gutters when under-insulated attics let warm air up from the living space below. Warmer attic temps melt roof snow fast, and when the melted snow hits the colder eves, it re-freezes.

 A few days of this builds up an ice sheet that traps other melting snow below, and with nowhere to go, it pushes water thru the roof covering into the house.

Same under-insulated attic, but now air coming into the attic is both warm and moist-cold temps condense the water vapor and can cause rot in the wood framework.

Remedy: Right now-before ‘real weather’ hits-clean out gutters/downspouts and install gutter screens. Also-insulate the attic, and insure there is good ventilation to keep interior and exterior temps closer.

Freezing water pipes that burst ruin about a quarter-million homes a year, and it can happen to both PVC and copper piping. A one-eighth inch crack can spray 250 gallons of water… a day.

Before the temps nose-dive, insulate the exposed pipes in your attic, crawlspace and garages. The more insulation, the better. Seal any leaks around pipes or wiring that could let cold air in, and turn off the outside water from the interior shut off valve.

Inside, keep temps at 55 degrees or higher. Open cabinet doors that conceal pipes to let warmer air circulate around them, and let both cold and warm water trickle out of one faucet. Going out of town? Even if it’s one night, arrange for someone to come over and check.

If you turn on a faucet and nothing comes out, your pipes may have frozen. Keep faucets on, turn main water valve in house off and call a plumber. NEVER try to thaw out a pipe with any type of flame. Warm air from a hair drier may help-start close to the faucet and work towards the frozen section.

Unless you are uber-handy, consider licensed professionals to do these jobs easily, correctly, and safely.

Click here for more tips on how to keep you and your family safe this holday season. Just like anything else preventative, it’s best to know about these things before you have to.