If you live in Twin Falls or its surrounding areas, then you know what an intense winter it was for the Magic Valley at the beginning of 2017 – considered the 12th largest that the area’s had in 100 years! There was massive flooding which eroded, collapsed, and temporarily closed down many roads, as well as closing schools and business for days. It also ruined several parts of fields and farmland, which are a major source of revenue for this agricultural community. And at one point, the flooding had gotten so bad that the governor even issued a disaster warning! Many homes suffered from this flooding as well, which inevitably caused major water damage costing several Magic Valley residents thousands of dollars.
With winter soon approaching once again, it’s reassuring for many to know that the weather predictions for this upcoming winter are not as harsh as last year’s. Still, water damage can happen if not adequately prepared. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, water damage from winter storms is the “third-largest cause of catastrophe losses, behind only hurricanes and tornadoes!”
So here are 7 ways that Twin Falls area residents can protect their homes this upcoming winter season.
1. Keep Rain Gutters Clean. An overflowing rain gutter can send water into your house, and potentially even cause damage to your home’s exterior as well. This is never good! Roofs are large and impermeable surfaces that lead to a large amount of water runoff when it rains or snows, so it’s vital to keep your rain gutters cleaned out and pointed away from your home, so water doesn’t pool at the base. Speaking of…
2. Inspect the Perimeter. Make sure water can’t enter your home from anywhere outside through the foundation. If water pools near the base of your home, it could potentially get inside if the grading at the perimeter doesn’t slope away from the house. Large puddles of water that can’t sink into the ground eventually will end up somewhere, and you don’t want the somewhere to be your basement! In addition to checking out the foundation of your home, you should also…
3. Take a Look at the Siding. Caulk any cracks and holes that you may find in the home’s siding or foundation. Many people aren’t aware that holes left by cable installation, for example, can leave pipes exposed to the frigid winter air outside.
4. Check the Roof. If your attic is not correctly insulated, then heat from your home can and will escape, melting any snow on your roof long before the sun has a chance to. If this happens, the melting snow can freeze once it reaches an area of the roof or an overhang that’s colder than where the heat escaped from, and this causes what’s known as “ice damming.” When this happens, it can force the frozen water under roof shingles, which is a recipe for disaster! It also might be wise to invest in a roof rake, which is a tool that lets you to stand safely on the ground in order to brush off snow from the roof.
5. Inspect Home’s Water Supply Line. Most rubber water supply lines tend to last for about five years on average, and steel-braided hoses tend to last longer. Check for leaks from your hot water heater, washing machine, ice machine in your refrigerator, and any other appliances that can leak, such as dishwasher or any secondary refrigerators or freezers you may have. This is wise to do at least once a year, as soon as it starts getting cold.
6. Turn Off Water Before Leaving Town. This one is pretty self-explanatory, but so many travel during the holidays and sometimes in the hustle and bustle of it all, things like shutting off the water are easily forgotten. If you’d rather not turn it off, you can always ask a friend to check your house at least once while you’re gone to make sure there aren’t any leaks or that no pipes have frozen. And speaking of freezing pipes…
7. Don’t Forget the Interior! Make sure that your pipes under the sinks in your home are either insulated well or exposed to your home’s warmth by leaving the cabinet doors open at night. Another possible option is leaving a very small amount of water running at night to keep water flowing, thus preventing potential freezing. Also, check your walls, windows, ceilings, and floors for potential leaks or holes. If a pipe does burst, it’s also a good idea to know where your home’s main water valve is, so that you can shut the water off quickly and prevent further damage.
Following these tips can help prevent winter water damage and ensure a warm and cozy season! However, if you live in the Twin Falls area, and if you unfortunately experience any water damage this winter, know that Elite Restoration is here to help, and 24/7 emergency service is available.
Stay cozy – and dry – this winter, here in the Magic Valley!