Cold winter months are no surprise when living in the Midwest. But even though we know what’s coming, homeowners don’t always prepare properly for the damage that winter can bring. Cold temperatures and extreme weather conditions can cause a big strain on a house and its systems, both inside and out. Even milder temperatures don’t mean the house won’t experience any issues. Watch out for these common issues that can affect the house during winter.
Icicles Hanging Over the Gutters
When water flow is restricted, icicles can form in gutters. They look pretty but they are dangerous and should be removed. The extra weight can ruin the gutters, and falling icicles can injure people or pets. Removing them can be tricky so if you are not comfortable doing it yourself it is best to hire a professional to get it done safely. To avoid the problem, make sure gutters are cleaned out thoroughly before winter arrives.
If you notice that water is not flowing properly out of faucets or there is frost under the sink, those are signs of frozen pipes and you need to take immediate action. If a pipe freezes it can actually burst and cause extensive property damage. Make sure your heat is on and set to a comfortable level, open cabinet doors to expose pipes to heat, or allow a small amount of water to drip through faucets to reduce pressure buildup in the pipe.
Heating System Not Working Properly
Especially cold weather can make the heating system work overtime. Air leaks around the windows or doors can let in cold air. If the heating system has not been properly maintained throughout the year, it might not be able to keep up with the falling temperatures inside. Nobody wants to spend the winter bundled up in hats and gloves inside, so make sure to seal any air leaks properly and get a qualified technician in to service the heating system right away.
Water can seep into the bricks of the chimney, so freezing and thawing can cause them to start to deteriorate and crumble. There is also a higher chance of creosote buildup in the winter months, when the chimney is cold. Creosote is a byproduct of burned wood and is made up mainly of tar. It is extremely flammable and can cause chimney fires. It is very important to have the chimney inspected regularly and repaired immediately to avoid any danger to the inside of your home.
Preventative Maintenance Can Help Avoid Winter Problems
Of course, the best way to avoid these problems is to prepare for them before cold weather hits. But if you forgot to plan properly and are now facing one of these issues the only thing to do is correct the problem right away before it causes any more damage.
Home maintenance is very important in order to keep all of your home’s features and systems in good working order. When buying or selling a home, a home inspection is the best way to determine the condition of the interior and exterior components. Lakes Area Home Inspections is an ASHI certified company who will provide a thorough, detailed report and answer all of your questions so you can be confident in the true condition of a home.
Contact Lakes Area Home Inspections at 262-818-0911 in Southern Wisconsin or 224-338-8885 in Northern Illinois to learn more or to schedule your inspection appointment.
LAHI serves the entire area of Northern IL and Southern WI. If you are in Woodstock, Grayslake, Crystal Lake, Palatine or the surrounding areas, give us a call at (224) 334-8885 so we can get you on our schedule