Follow these recommendations to help prevent damage from freezing weather.
Keep winter weather out
- Install weather stripping or seals around windows and doors, vents and fans, plumbing, air conditioners, electrical and gas lines, and mail chutes.
- Seal all cracks, holes, and other openings on exterior walls with caulk or insulation.
Prevent frozen pipes
- Insulate and seal attic penetrations such as partition walls, vents, plumbing stacks, and electric and mechanical chases.
- Insulate pipes most vulnerable to freezing by using pipe insulation.
- Provide a reliable backup power source to ensure continuous power to the building.
- Keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature, even if you’ll be away from the home.
- Install a monitoring system that provides notifications if the building’s temperature dips below a pre-determined number.
- Install an automatic excess flow switch on the main incoming domestic water line to monitor and provide early detection of a broken pipe or valve. Use wireless sensors near water sources.
- Monitor sprinkler systems using a central station to provide early detection of a pipe failure and heat unheated sprinkler control rooms.
- Let all faucets drip during extreme cold weather to prevent freezing of the water inside the pipe, and if freezing does occur, to relieve pressure buildup in the pipes between the ice blockage and the faucet.
- Keep bathroom and kitchen cabinet doors open during cold spells to let warm air circulate around the pipes.
Prevent roof collapse
Remove excess snow from the roof using a snow rake with a long extension arm that will allow you to remove the snow while standing on the ground; alternatively, hire a snow removal contractor.
- Keep all drains, scuppers, gutters, and downspouts free of debris and vegetation that may restrict proper flow.
- Remove or relocate heat sources that are installed in open attic areas directly under the roof.
- Insulate light fixtures in the ceiling below an unheated attic space.
- If you have penetrations into the attic, such as vents, seal and insulate them so that daylight cannot be seen and airflow is minimal.
- Install heating cables on eaves, gutters, and downspouts or around roof drains on flat roofs. This will not won’t remove an existing ice dam, but will create effective channels that allow water to drain off safely.