Water Damage Risks for Empty Minnesota Homes in Winter

Category: Restoration

Whether you are a winter lover or a snowbird who flies away quickly in fall, the cold season in Minnesota requires extra planning and preparation. 

The Minneapolis – St. Paul area averages over fifty inches of snow per year, and the average low temperature for November through March is below freezing. Weather this cold and wet can cause numerous problems at your home. If your home is vacant during the winter, for a weekend or for a month, these potential problems can compound. 
As experienced water damage restoration professionals, we are available to help Twin Cities homeowners year round. In this article, we will explain the most dangerous and damaging situations that we commonly see once the temperatures drop.

Overall Winter Water Damage Risks

From icy rain to snowstorms, winter in Minnesota includes a lot of precipitation. This moisture can build up throughout a home from the roof to the walls to the foundation. If your siding, roofing, doors, windows, gutters, and masonry are damaged, water can enter and cause major issues. 

Winter weather changes also include fluctuations in humidity. When the temperature drops below the dew point inside your home (particularly common when homes are left empty), moisture is created. This moisture will collect on your walls, ceiling, floors, and even inside your walls and windows. 

This damp build-up can cause rust on metal items, and mold on organic items like paper, drywall, wood, and fabric. If mold is allowed to grow unnoticed inside your walls, under your floor or between your rafters or joists, it can cause major structural damage and serious health problems. Keeping the exterior of your home in good repair and maintaining the correct temperature and humidity levels inside your home can prevent these issues. 

Ice Dams

Ice dams can create water damage risks by building up along your roofline when snow falls and then is followed by periods of more mild (freeze/thaw) weather. They are formed when heat escaping through your attic melts the snow on the roof, which then refreezes when it reaches the cooler eaves at the edges of your roof. 

This ice forms a dam that prevents other moisture from being able to flow off of your roof and into your gutters. Moisture then starts to back up between your roofing shingles, plywood, and even down into your walls. Having the right amount of insulation in your attic, and removing snow from your roof are two ways to prevent ice dams. 

Winter Plumbing Woes

One of the most common problems we see in the winter, particularly in empty homes, is water damage caused by pipes that froze and burst. Even homes with excellent insulation will reach freezing temperatures indoors if they go long enough without heat in the Minnesota winter. 

Freezing expands the water in your pipes, causing the pipe itself to burst or split. When this happens, the remaining water drains out into the room, inside the walls or fills the lower floors of your house. If the water is still on, this can mean thousands of gallons of water and huge amounts of damage.

Damage Caused By Winter Storms

Minnesota residents are prepared to deal with average snow storms, but it’s important to stay vigilant and be prepared for more extreme weather. Winter storms can cause major damage to your home and property – here are just a few examples of the problems they can bring.

  • Power outages that can lead to freezing temperatures inside your home that can in turn cause many of the plumbing problems described above
  • Dangerous or impassable roadways that can prevent you from getting to your home, or prevent contractors from being able to reach you to help
  • Extreme cold that can overwhelm your heating and insulation, leading to burst pipes particularly in exterior walls
  • Water intrusion in your home when large amounts of snow melt, particularly if ice dams have formed

Enjoy A Safe, Secure Winter With Help From Green Clean

Here at Green Clean, we are local Twin Cities residents who will be facing the winter weather right alongside you. We hope that you and your neighbors get through the season without being faced with frozen pipes, roof damage from ice dams, or major storm damage. We particularly hope that none of these issues happen when you are not there to see them and stop them right away. 

If you do face any of these problems, whether you are here or away, we are ready to help. Taking preventative action to alleviate water damage risks will lead to the best results. We can bring in our expert team immediately to get your home restored as quickly and efficiently as possible. For trusted, complete water damage restoration help, contact Green Clean today. 

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