Top 3 Sources of Post-Winter Storm Damage
SERVPRO of The Southtowns is called on to respond to storm damage from all across the country. Sometimes, that means hurricanes. Sometimes, that means wildfires.
In Western New York, that means severe winter storms that cause deep freezes and major damage across the region.
Often, it’s not the storm itself that causes the most damage. It’s the strain that the conditions of the storm cause on building systems that can be catastrophic. Here are three examples.
Water expands when it freezes. In an ice cube, this is no big deal. Inside your pipes, this is a huge deal. If the water inside your pipes freezes, it can cause your pipes to leak, fracture and burst, resulting in serious water damage in your home.
The best way to avoid a burst pipe is to insulate your pipes and leave your water running slightly when temperatures fall under 20 degrees Fahrenheit. This can often be more difficult than it sounds, especially with outdoor pipes and pipes in unheated areas like basements and garages. Still, it’s worth making the effort - burst pipes are some of the most common calls we get after a winter storm.
An ice dam is exactly what it sounds like - a dam that forms on the edge of your roof as snow melts and refreezes. Normally, the runoff from a snow melt will drain into your gutters and away from your home, but if it refreezes unevenly, damming can occur.
Damming itself may not cause immediate damage, but it can cause water to back up under your shingles and into your home. The dam itself may even become heavy enough to tear off gutters and parts of your roof.
If you see an ice dam start to form, you should not wait to address it. You may be able to use a roof rake to deal with it yourself, but if it’s a serious dam, or if you can’t access it safely, you should call a roofer.
If your roof is older or poorly maintained, you’re at significant risk of suffering serious damage during and after a winter storm. The weight of the snow and the ice can cause your roof to bow and collapse, and the constant thawing and freezing of water can cause shingles to crack and your roof to leak.
Again, the best solution is maintenance. Keep your roof in good condition and try to mitigate the risks that come with heavy snowfall, and you should be okay. If your issues are greater than you can handle on your own, call a roofer.