What Is Winter Property Damage in RI?
Winter property damage is when your home or business experiences damage during the colder months. From late fall to early spring, Rhode Island properties are at higher risk of damage from snow, ice, heavy winds, sleet, and freezing temperatures. Some forms of property damage become more common in the winter than any other time of year, while others only happen during the winter. This is due to how cold it gets outside, especially in Rhode Island, and the frequency of snowstorms.
Fortunately, there are ways to protect your home or business from the most common types of property damage in winter. Prepare for the cold inside and out with our cold-weather house tips and reminders for properties heading into winter.
Winter months are the time for festive holidays and keeping warm by the fireplace or space heater. However, this desire for a cozy atmosphere despite the cold outside is precisely what increases the risk of winter house fires.
While fire damagecan happen year-round, there are a few things that pose a greater fire damage risk during the wintertime. Typically, the number of house fires caused by heating will escalate in December, January, and February. This is significant since heating is the second leading cause of home fires in the United States.
Common causes of fire damage in Rhode Island include:
- Space Heaters.
- Wood Stoves.
- Extension Cords.
- Christmas Lights.
- Holiday Decorations.
- Dry Christmas Trees.
- Dryer Fires.
Christmas trees become increasingly flammable as they dry out. More than one-quarter of Christmas tree fires occur in January, so it is vital to follow proper and timely removal after the holiday season. Learn more about preventing Christmas tree fires by clicking here.
If a house fire occurs, structural damage from the actual fire isn’t the only property damage you’re likely to incur. A winter house fire may also cause smoke, soot, and water damage. Soot often binds itself to walls and ceilings or hides in the air vents of your property after a fire. The smoke damage can compromise the infrastructure, cause cosmetic damage, and pose serious health risks for the occupants inside.
At Rhode Island Restoration, we use high-quality equipment and proven techniques to detect and remove soot in addition to performing property restoration from the fire damage.
Winter Fire Safety Tips
Whether you’re a business owner or homeowner, there are several preventative measures and precautions for fire safety that you can use this winter to protect your property. Install a smoke detector on every level of your building and test the smoke alarms once a month. Keep flammable materials, such as furniture, fabric, mattresses, or bedding, at least three feet away from any heat sources — this includes both open fires and space heaters.
Most heating fires involve the improper use of space heaters. Use these winter tips for homeowners to ensure proper space heater safety:
- Turn off your space heaters whenever you leave the room or go to sleep.
- Choose equipment with an automatic shut-off should the space heater tip over accidentally.
- Hire a qualified professional to inspect and clean your heating equipment before each winter.
- Consider installing carbon monoxide alarms to reduce CO poisoning risks if you use a gas heater.
- Check that you have the correct fuel if you use a fuel-burning space heater.
Homeowners must also maintain their fireplaces, furnaces, and wood stoves with these fire safety tips:
- Ensure the damper is open before lighting the fireplace.
- Allow all ashes to cool completely before closing the damper.
- Choose a sturdy metal or glass screen that prevents sparks from flying into the room.
- Keep the metal or heat-tempered glass screen closed while the fireplace is lit.
- Put the fire out before going to sleep and whenever there is no one around to tend to it.
- Hire a professional to inspect and clean your chimney before the first use of the season.
- Avoid using flammable liquids to start or accelerate fireplace and woodstove fires.
- Keep the doors of your wood stove closed unless adding wood or stocking the fire.
Candle fires generally peak in December, with an average of 21 house fires caused by candles daily from 2014 to 2018. Avoid becoming a statistic and follow these safety tips for appropriate candle use:
- Keep flammable objects at least 12 inches away from any lit candles.
- Don’t leave small children or pets alone in a room with a lit candle.
- Avoid using candles in the bedroom or where you may forget them if you fall asleep.
- Blow out candles before you leave the house, or better yet, every time you leave the room.
Roof Leak Damage
Roof leaks happen year-round, just like fires, but are more common in the fall and winter. Roof leaks turn into interior water damage in a matter of minutes and can be costly if not fixed right away. Thankfully, we’re able to fix leaky roofs quickly and thoroughly so that you won’t have to worry about them happening again. We are experienced in water damage restoration for every type of disaster, including roof leaks.
Ice Dam Damage
An ice dam is a frozen mass that sits on your roof. They occur when melting snow flows down a roof and reaches a portion below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The water then refreezes to create an ice dam, and any excess water builds up on your roof, causing a roof leak.
Nonuniform roof surface temperatures typically lead ice dams to form at the roof’s edge. This ridge of ice prevents melting snow from draining as intended, leaving the water to pool behind the ice dam instead. The built-up water then leaks into the property through cracks and openings in the exterior roof covering.
The water can travel downward from the attic and cause interior water damage or staining to the ceilings, walls and insulation. Meanwhile, the added moisture entering the home or business can lead to mildew and mold damage. Because ice dams can lead to roof damage, water damage and mold damage, it is crucial that a restoration company or professional roofer handles the repair procedures for ice dam formation during wintertime.
Rhode Island is prone to some nasty winter storms that sometimes result in feet of snow. Roof failure and collapse due to snow or ice accumulation is more likely than you might think. Although snow may feel light when it falls, it can quickly accumulate and become very heavy on your roof. After a certain amount of snow, your roof is at risk of collapsing!
It is always recommended to keep an eye on how much snow is gathering on your roof, removing it as needed to prevent this dangerous winter property damage in RI. However, the appearance of snow on a roof alone can be deceiving. Its weight may fluctuate depending on whether the snow is fresh, compact or icy. For example, packed snow weighs more than snow that has just fallen. A combination of new and old snow can easily lead to roof collapse, so it is essential to remove snow if there is not enough time for the snow to melt and run off your roof naturally between snowfalls.
Protect Your Roof From Winter Damage
Preventative measures should be your top priority.From roof leaks to ice dam formation to the risk of collapse, our tips can help prevent all types of winter roof damage. Be prepared for winter and avoid expensive repairs come springtime by following these cold-weather tips for home and business owners alike.
During the winter, even minimal water seepage can accelerate roof damage and heat loss. You can protect your home or business against roof leaks by:
- Hiring a professional roofer to conduct a thorough inspection of your roof.
- Checking for leaks and water stains in your attic after heavy autumn rains.
- Fixing loose or damaged shingles as soon as the cold weather allows.
- Removing icicles immediately, so they don’t have time to build up a tight hold.
- Preventing the formation of ice dams on the edge of your roof.
Ice dams can be prevented by controlling a building’s heat loss. Use these steps for adequate ice dam prevention this winter:
- Hire a professional to remove icicles, ice and snow regularly to avoid build-up.
- Clear your gutters and downspouts of debris, so water can flow freely without obstructions.
- Install ice melting heat cables or apply a de-icing agent to keep gutters warm.
- Add sufficient insulation between your roof and the interior of your property.
- Ensure the ceiling is air-tight, so the warm, moist air inside your home cannot flow up to the attic.
- Keep the upper floors slightly cooler to prevent the melting and refreezing cycle that causes ice dams.
- Consider increasing your attic insulation and ventilation to cut down on heat loss by conduction.
In addition to the above winter roof protection methods, here are a few tips to help prevent roof collapse:
- Hire a professional to remove ice and snow frequently to avoid surpassing the roof’s carrying capacity.
- Check for loose or damaged shingles, which can leave your roof vulnerable and shorten its overall lifetime.
- Trim any tree limbs or branches that could break under the weight of the snow and fall onto your roof.
Before winter weather arrives, it is vital to have a professional roofer inspect your property. This and other preventative measures can significantly reduce your risk of winter damage. However, emergencies can happen to even the most prepared homeowners. So, what should you do when winter damage suddenly strikes?
Rhode Island Restoration is a professional roofing solution available 24/7 to offer emergency services for any structural damage caused by ice or snow. On top of repairing your roof, we will clean, dry, repair and restore any other areas of your property that have been damaged. Snow can easily damage your roof, gutters, deck and even the interior of your property. In these situations, it’s essential to contact a company like Rhode Island Restoration to help restore your entire home or building.
Storms can be destructive year-round, but in the winter, hail storms and snowstorms can add greater risks compared to the typical wind and rainstorms in other seasons. Not only can major hail damage occur in the winter, but the addition of snow to the wind during a blizzard can easily damage the exterior, and sometimes even the interior if it’s bad enough, of your home.
Trees can also have difficulty withstanding winter storm damage and the impactful weight of ice and snow. Generally, trees are less flexible during the colder months. Their limbs and branches are more likely to freeze and snap under the weight. This may send them crashing onto your roof or garage and could cause cracks or dents where water can leak through to the interior.
Avoid this kind of winter damage to homes by trimming overhanging branches in the fall, clearing them of snow build-up in the winter and removing dead or broken limbs in the spring.
Frozen and Burst Pipes
The biggest threat to your home in the winter is burst pipes caused by the water freezing and expanding. When it gets cold enough (20 degrees, to be exact), that is when you are susceptible to a frozen pipe. The ice within the pipe expands as it freezes, putting tremendous pressure on the pipe and causing it to burst.
The burst pipe will result in significant water damage to your home. It’s important to call a professional water damage restoration company in Rhode Island to clean up the water damage as soon as you see it to avoid mold damage and further destruction.
How to Prevent and Thaw Frozen Pipes
It’s easy for pipes to freeze during cold weather. Fortunately, we have some winter home tips to help you prevent frozen pipes:
- Insulate exposed pipes with heat tape or foam pipe insulation, especially in your attic, basement and garage.
- Keep your heat set to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit, even when going away during the winter.
- Ensure proper heat is maintained by keeping your thermostat consistent both during the day and at night.
- Open interior doors to stabilize the temperature throughout your entire home or business.
- Keep the garage door closed to prevent vulnerable water supply lines from getting even colder.
- Shut off the water and drain the pipes if you plan to leave your property for an extended period.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinets periodically to let warm air circulate around the plumbing.
- Allow water to drip from faucets that are fed by exposed piping, particularly during frigid days.
- Seal cracks, holes and crawl spaces before the cold weather arrives to stop drafts around water supplies.
The best thing you can do to prepare for this winter is to learn the signs of a burst pipe, so you can act immediately should a problem occur. If you catch signs of a frozen pipe early, you might thaw the pipe by applying heat to the frozen section until the full water pressure is restored and running water comes through the open faucet. Remember, where one pipe freezes, others may be at risk of bursting, too. Consider calling a professional supplier of plumbing leak repair services if you notice any issues.
Winter Property Damage Restoration in Rhode Island
What should you do after winter property damage in Rhode Island? Contact Rhode Island’s best property damage restoration company! We are on call around the clock for any of your winter property damage in Rhode Island needs.
At Rhode Island Restoration, we offer 24/7 emergency property damage restoration service to anywhere in Rhode Island. Our partnership with Performance Adjusting ensures you get the most money for your claim. While they handle the entire insurance claims process, we repair the winter property damage. Call us at 401-834-FIRE (3473) for a free consultation, or request a free estimate online today.