Each of the four seasons comes with a maintenance checklist to stay ahead of major problems.
Heavy snow and ice are not weather conditions most people associate with Texas (with the exception of February 2021); however, it’s good to know how to manage winter problems (should they arise) to avoid letting them become bigger problems in the spring.
Hard winter months can stretch the limits of your home’s endurance, from roof damage to busted pipes to cracking driveway. Here are some helpful tips to avoid winter damages to your home.
Your roof endures, rain, sun, sleet, snow, wind, and sometimes freezing temperatures that can cause severe damage to your roof. If icicles form on the roof, remove them immediately and fix any damage to shingles as soon as possible.
Ice in the Gutters
Winter can spell big trouble if ice and snow build up in blocked gutters. Clear your gutters of debris before cold weather arrives, then check them in freezing temperatures to make sure they stay clear of of ice. If ice collects, clear out your gutters with a de-icing agent to melt the ice and move the water away from your house.
When winter temperatures fluctuate, caulk often cracks and pulls away from windows, which in turn creates drafts that let warm air out and cold air in. If you notice that your home is particularly drafty, check your windows and reapply caulk to any cracks to warm up your home and save on energy bills.
Driveway Chips and Cracks
Shoveling snow from the driveway is a winter chore that many people know all too well. Check your driveway for chips and cracks each spring, and guard against damage each winter by using a rubber bladed shovel and avoiding de-icing agents with harsh chemicals, which can be corrosive.
Tree Limbs Snap
Trees provide shade in the summer and beauty in the fall, but wintry conditions can cause trees to be a safety hazard. Tree limbs that are heavy with snow or ice can easily snap and fall on your roof, siding, power lines, or someone walking nearby. The best way to prevent winter damage on your trees is to prune them during the fall, clear them of snow build up in the winter, and remove cracked limbs in the spring.
If winter temperatures dip into freezing, your plumbing pipes may be at risk of freezing and bursting. To avoid this plumbing catastrophe when temperatures dip, insulate your exposed pipes with heat tape or foam pipe insulation. Open cabinet doors under your sinks to help warm air circulate around the pipes, and turn on your faucet to a slow drip to keep water flowing. Remember to wrap outside faucets, too, and turn on a slow drip.
When your doors are exposed to wintry conditions the frames around your doors can grow soft and damp, potentially leading to wood rot and an open invitation to termites in the spring. As temperatures warm and spring arrives, check each of your door frames and fill damaged areas with epoxy wood filler. If the damaged area is extensive, consider replacing the entire door frame.
Winter’s icy conditions can be a real test to your home’s foundation. The frost heave cycle (that’s when the ground freezes and then eventually melts again) can result in the soil shifting and moving under your home’s concrete foundation. This causes cracks and other damages that only worsen over time.
Plaster walls are especially prone to problems in the winter months. The lack of humidity in the air causes plaster to shrink and crack. You might not be able to prevent it completely, but keeping your home at a consistent temperature, and using a humidifier can help lessen the problem.
These are all good things to know and if you’ve lived in a northern area you have probably had to deal with some of these issues. Here in Texas, we’re fairly fortunate to not have too many harsh winter days. However, when they do occur, it’s good to know how to manage the problem.
At Cousin James Management our contractors and technicians are expertly trained in managing even the worst of winter snafus. If property management is not your expertise or you simply do not have time to manage your property, contact Cousin James Management. We’re well known and respected throughout the DFW and North Texas area since 1997. Give us a call. We’re here to help.