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6 Common Types of Winter Water Damage

Frozen water in the rainwater drain pipe.

Water damage can happen any time of year, but winter weather is notorious for causing leaks, floods, and ruptured pipes. Consider the six most common types of water damage that occur in the winter and how to avoid them.

Frozen Pipes

Water expands when it freezes, meaning a frozen pipe is liable to burst under the pressure. To prevent frozen pipes, follow these tips:

  • Blow out the sprinkler system before the first freeze.
  • Seal and insulate unconditioned spaces where pipes are located.
  • Insulate exposed pipes.
  • Let the water drip from your faucets on bitterly cold nights.
  • Set the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees.
  • Shut off the main water supply when you go out of town.

Ice Dams

It’s common for rooftop snow to melt underneath and refreeze at the eaves. The resulting ice dams prevent melting snow from draining properly. Water can then make its way under the shingles and leak into the attic. Here are the best ways to avoid ice dams:

  • Clean the gutters to help melted snow drain away.
  • Seal and insulate the attic floor to keep heated indoor air where it belongs.
  • Ventilate the attic to keep it cool.

Overflowing Gutters

Clogged gutters don’t just lead to ice dams—they can also cause siding and foundation damage if they overflow from excessive winter rainfall. Clean your gutters and extend the downspouts at least six feet to help rainwater drain properly.

Melting Snow

The runoff from melting snow may flood your basement if the ground slopes toward your house. To prevent this, shovel snow away from your home and add soil as needed to guide runoff away from the foundation.

Leaky Water Heater

You may use your water heater all year round, but this appliance works hardest in the winter when the incoming water temperature drops by about 25 degrees. If your water heater is getting old, it could be vulnerable to leaks, which could flood if your home if left undetected. To avoid a mess, follow these tips:

  • Flush your water heater once a year.
  • Schedule maintenance and repairs as needed.
  • Consider replacing your water heater if it’s more than 10 years old.

Condensation

Water naturally condenses on cold surfaces, including water pipes and window panes. Condensation becomes more prevalent in the winter because cold air can’t hold as much moisture. If your home is too humid, excessive condensation could drip onto wood, carpet, drywall, and other surfaces prone to water damage. Keep an eye on your windows and metal pipes throughout the winter. If you spot condensation, adjust the setting on your humidifier to introduce less moisture into the air.

Has your home experienced any water damage this winter? If so, turn to DKI for help. Our restoration company serves customers from coast to coast, with over 200 locations across North America. To learn more about our services or request emergency damage response, please call us at 877-533-0210 or contact us online.