Winters are getting progressively worse, according to studies, and this trend is going to continue. Therefore, every homeowner who lives in a state where cold actually happens needs to learn just how dangerous it can be to their property. Adequate maintenance and protections are essential if you want to keep your home safe and not to spend a fortune doing structural repairs and replacing appliances damaged by extreme winter weather.
The Effects of Cold Weather on Your Home: Things to Look Out For
Cold weather is hard on everyone and everything, your home included. The main risks it brings to the property are:
- Freezing temperatures mean freezing water, which means burst pipes and damaged gutters.
- Closing up your house from the cold can turn the air stagnant and stale. Combined with moisture condensed due to the difference in temperatures outside and inside the house this results in breeding grounds for mold.
- Running your heaters might not only damage heaters but your wiring as well as cause home fires.
- Temperature differences cause materials your very house is made to contract and expand. This causes cracks in drywall and other similar damage. It’s especially dangerous to your roofing. It will also suffer from snow and wind damage.
- Freezing temperatures and snow will wear down or outright damage the material covering the exterior of your house. Vinyl siding might turn brittle, the paint will crack, etc.
- Overworking your heating appliances can result in their ultimate breakdown, especially if you didn’t change filters prior to the heating season.
- Extreme temperatures cause a variety of electricity issues, which might result in burnt electronic appliances.
- If you store any of the appliances in poorly-heated areas, like a fridge freezer in your basement, the cold might damage them irreparably. Note that any appliances that use water and are stored in the shed or garage, like a pressure washer, will need to be dried properly before storage to prevent damage.
Any appliance in your home is in danger if the place gets cold. However, some are particularly vulnerable to such conditions:
- Refrigerators and freezers can become too cold, which will cause the tubes the coolant liquid is running through to burst.
- Washing machines, dryers, and any other appliances with moving parts are at risk because the lubricant used in these devices might freeze.
- LCD screens freeze and get damaged in the cold, so any device with a display is in danger.
- Condensation that forms inside the device due to fast changes in temperature might cause it to short out.
How to Keep Your Home Safe in Any Weather
The best way to protect your home in extreme weather is to be prepared and keep every part of it in good condition. Home inspections and home warranties are your main helpers in that. Inspections will help you catch any issues early and home warranties will help cut down the cost of repairs.
The tricky thing is to understand when exactly you need such services. Many people tend to believe that these safeguards are only necessary in extreme cases. Truly extreme winters feature temperatures that dip far below zero and veritable tons of snow brought to you by the wind that borders on the hurricane. Luckily, only a few places in the US actually have winters that bad. And even those places only have several days or a few weeks of extremely bad cold weather a year. Minnesota is in the lead there with Michigan, Alaska, and North Dakota following close behind.
At least that used to be the truth. However, today climate change is making winters so bad that people now might need protections even if they live in North Carolina. The good news for those homeowners is that there are plenty of both inspections and home warranty companies that are operating in NC. The top ones include but aren’t limited to Choice, Select, Total Home Protection, and First American Home Warranty, all of which offer protection nearly all over the country. However, the very fact that this protection is necessary for a state ranked 11th for having mild winters is a sign that every American homeowner should have protection.
In fact, the states less used to extremely cold winters are more vulnerable. Local homeowners don’t have the experience and need to carry out necessary pre-winter preparations. Therefore, should a bad winter strike, and it always does so suddenly, the damage to your home will be extensive.
But climate change aside, the question here is what can you do to reduce the damage that cold weather does to your home? Home warranties and inspections help you reduce the cost of repairs, but you also have the power to prevent problems in the first place. The most important thing you can do to achieve this is to keep up to date with house maintenance. Your home warranty will be helpful here as well because it can cover at least a part of maintenance costs.
Other Things you can do include:
- Keep every door and window in your home closed and make sure they all close properly to minimize drafts.
- If you have a basement, cover up windows there with blankets to keep it a bit warmer.
- Insulate all your water pipes in unheated places. If necessary, install a pipe-heating cable.
- Remember that burst pipes are expensive to repair by default. However, they also cause water damage, which might cause mold, which can reduce the value of your house drastically because it will cost tens of thousands of dollars to get rid of.
- Triple-check chimneys, fireplaces, and all heating equipment to make sure everything is in top working order.
- Let the water drip a little to prevent pipes from freezing in extreme cold.
The most important rule of surviving through a bad winter with minimal damage is to keep your home as warm and dry as possible. Therefore, make sure to seal up every tiny crack and insulate as much of the building as possible to reduce risks.
Remember that changes in temperature are more damaging than low temperatures. Therefore, try to keep a stable temperatures within every part of your home. And never turn on electronic appliances right after you brought them in from the cold. Let the device warm up and dry for a few hours.
Follow these simple rules, protect your home with a suitable policy, and you’ll be able to get through winter with minimal losses.