Frozen Pipes & Winter Water Damage by Metrix Restoration

Winter weather brings an added element of difficulty & danger to water damage restoration claims.  We all can understand how each flood or water damage cleanup comes with both general & special needs.

In this article we will highlight how winter weather affects water damage restoration operations, the most common causes of winter water damage & what you can do to protect your home.

Making water pipe maintenance a priority this winter is a good idea, especially if the climate of your area sustains temperatures of freezing or below.  Cracked & Busted Pipes due to freezing temperature is cited by most insurance adjustors and water damage restoration professionals as the #1 cause of residential water damage during winter, according to R. Noel, GM of Flood Metrix in Stafford, VA.

“Of course, roof leaks and ceiling damage caused by ice dams are also very common throughout the water damage industry in areas with longer winter seasons and heavy snow fall, but busted pipes still rank #1 in Northern VA, District of Columbia & Southern MD.”

How Frozen Pipes Cause Water Damage

The physical materials of your home are under constant “attack” by its surrounding environment.  Most homeowners understand that weather in general can affect the structural integrity of their home, and still never consider how nature itself is a natural “stress factor” affecting their home on a day-to-day basis.

Temperature differentials in air currents, air pressure, convection are each invisible factors of winter water damage, unnoticeable to the naked eye.

During winter temperatures can remain at freezing or below for weeks and months at a time.  In such climates freezing rains, icy wind chills and snow become like “military special force units” making structures more susceptible to flooding and water damage.

The good news is that keeping your home in good condition with up-to-date maintenance is the best defense against winter water damage.  In fact, keeping your home reasonably heated is enough to prevent frozen pipes from busting & causing water damage/flooding.

Energy.gov recommends an average inside temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Unoccupied homes are much more susceptible to flooding due to frozen/busted pipes when compared to homes which are occupied with regular home maintenance.  One reason for this is that unoccupied homes are also more likely to have colder inside temperatures.

Additionally, unoccupied homes are more likely to behind on routine maintenance.  When you combine cold temperatures with points of direct exposure to water pipes, freezing becomes a scientific certainty.

Frozen water obstructs and water flow and multiplies pressure per square in throughout pipes until they crack or bust.  The chances of this happening begin to increase exponentially when temperatures reach 20 degrees Fahrenheit and below.

Water damage restoration companies must then use additional specialty drying equipment including directed heat, adding to the financial costs of flood damage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melting Snow & Water Damage

Everyone loves the beauty of freshly fallen snow, but nobody loves the water damage melting snow can cause. Drain backup and overflows are common due to melting snow.

The ground becomes heavily saturated while sewer systems are flooded with melting snow on top of its normal capacity.  For tips to help prevent water damage see our related article on water damage prevention.

Ice Dams and Roof Leaks

Busted pipes may be the most likely source of winter water damage, but there is a second most common source.  This source doesn’t begin with rain, snow or cold but with cluttered gutters.  When gutters are obstructed, water can’t drain off the roof of a house properly.  During winter months, water trapped in gutters along with debris freeze and combine with icicles to create “ice dams”.   Although ice dams are not typically responsible for flood damage, but slow leak water damage and mold are both closely related.  Regular gutter maintenance can reduce the likeliness of ice dams forming and prevent any resulting water damage.

Outdoor Water Outlets

Outdoor water outlets aka “water spigots” should be insulated and secured during winter months.  Corresponding hoses should be disconnected, drained & stored to prevent damage.  As these outlets are connected to water pipes, the main & lower level of these homes are at higher risk to flooding, water & mold damage. 

If you do experience water damage this winter, call the experts at Flood Metrix. Our professional water mitigation teams are here 24/7/365 to move you from Stress to Satisfaction after a flood or water damage.  Choose Metrix over the Matter Because the Power to Change the Matter is in the Metrix.

Check out the top causes of busted pipes and tips to prevent water damage.

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