The Two Most Common Winter Home Issues—Plus, How to Fix Them
Winter conditions can pose a threat to any home. Ace Hardware's home expert, Lou Mandfredini, says that those who live in communities with freezing temperatures will often face two main problems: frozen pipes and ice damns on roofs and gutters. But even when inclement weather poses a threat, you can combat these issues in no time. "Always remember a well-maintained home is worth more," he says. "By doing the little things, your home will be easier to live in, look better, and add more to your personal bottom line." Ahead, find out how to tend to these winter-related dilemmas to keep your dwelling in tip-top shape all season long.
"For frozen pipes, you want to pay particular attention to those that run on the exterior walls of the home," Mandfredini says; when these pipes experience sub-zero temperatures for extended periods of time, they can freeze. "Ensure those spaces have adequate heating that is set at 50 degrees—at least." If you have sinks on outside walls and the pipes come through the back of the cabinets, leave those doors open to allow the heat from the room to enter the space. On extra-chilly days, place a fan on the floor and allow the air to blow into the cabinet. In need an alternative method? Following safety instructions from the manufacturer, apply heat tape to the piping. Or, let's say you have pipes that freeze over when the temperatures drop to extreme lows. In this case, allow the faucets to trickle with hot and cold water, since they come from separate pipes. "Moving water will not freeze and while there is some added cost to running the water, it's a lot cheaper than burst pipes," Mandfredini says. "Keep a bucket under the faucet to capture the trickle of water and use that to water your plants."
Pay careful attention when attempting to break ice dams apart on your roof, as you don't want to damage this part of your home. Instead of manually removing them, consider using calcium chloride pucks. You can easily toss them onto the roof and the ice will melt. This method will keep the surface in the best possible shape and create pockets to expose the roofing and let the sun to melt away excess snow and ice. Your attic is a major factor in this case: "Make sure the attic space is adequately insulated and ventilated," he shares of winter-time roof care. "Escaping heat from your home can hit the back side of the roof and, in snowy conditions, the snow will melt and form ice—that can penetrate the shingles and enter your home."