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Virginia Farm Bureau Information Center

Winterize your home to prevent water damage this winter

Winterize your home to prevent water damage this winter

Water damage to homes is especially common when temperatures plummet. Ice and snow can cause homeowners thousands of dollars in damages each year. Renters should be on the lookout as well; water damage causes a major inconvenience when carpets are soaked (or worse).

Before temperatures dip too far, give your home a once-over to avoid potential issues.

  • Let the attic stay cold. Melting and refreezing water on the roof could cause ice dams at the lower edge of a sloped roof, causing water to back up and into the walls.
  • Clear gutters, downspouts and drains of leaves. This will help prevent ice dams as well.
  • Fit exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping to slow the heat transfer. Remove garden hoses from outside spigots, and drain faucets after use.
  • Keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes. This is particularly important in the kitchen and bathroom. 
  • Keep water moving. Let a slow trickle of water drip from the faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated spaces. 
  • Get a certified check up for your heating systems. It’s important to have your chimney, woodstove or heating system maintained by a certified technician.
  • Clean the chimney and woodstoves out. There is an uptick in fires during the winter due to the usage and the improper maintenance of heating systems. Avoid the danger by cleaning now. 

Lastly, much damage can be avoided if everyone in the home knows where the main water supply is—and knows how to turn it off!


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