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How Snow Can Damage Your Home

2024-01-19 23:14

By SERVPRO


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  • Heavy snow and even snow drifts can cause home damage leading to water damage and mold damage

    Snow can be nice to look at when you’re snug beneath a blanket, watching safely from inside with a mug of your favorite hot drink. But it can also be dangerous to you and your property. In fact, snow drifts, ice dams, icicles, and more can wreak havoc on your home…but how? And what can you do to help with snow removal around your house?  

    Snow Drifts: Facts and Prevention 

    According to Insanitek and Hewitt’s Garden Centers, snow drifts: 

    • Drifts caused by strong winds and heavy snow. 

    • Tend to form in areas of calm. 

    • Tend to form in sheltered areas (this is where the largest drifts tend to settle). 

    • Can be hindered or helped by obstacles and landscaping. 

    • Can be minimized by road ditches and fences. 

      • If you choose to use fencing or a ditch to minimize snow drifts, consider your specific situation and the way winds blow through your yard.  

      • Are shrubs or vegetation a better option for “fencing” than a real, physical fence?  

      • Are vertical or horizontal slats better?  

      • Are you trying to keep out animals in addition to minimizing wind?  

    • Some fencing tips include: 

      • Make sure fencing is perpendicular to the way the wind blows. 
      • There should be a gap of 6 inches below the fence to collect snow. 
      • The fence should be as long as possible and extend beyond the area that gets a lot of wind. 

    Ice Dam Overview 

    Outside of snow drifts, snow can damage your home through ice dams. According to the University of Minnesota, an ice dam is defined as “a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof.”  

    Ultimately, ice dams can cause damage to your gutters, downspouts, siding, and roof itself, and spill water inside your attic or other living space. Walls, finishes, furniture, and more can be ruined or suffer serious damage if ice dams are not spotted and dealt with as early as possible.  

    How to Handle Icicles 

    Icicles can pose a serious hazard, just like snow drifts and ice dams. Cleveland.com details the following dangers of icicles, and how you can manage them

    • Don’t try to remove icicles. Hitting icicles with a rake or hammer is dangerous; they can be unpredictable and may cause injury. 

    • Have the insulation in your home inspected by a professional. They can recommend how much insultation is needed, which can help minimize icicles on your gutters. 

    • Hire a professional to install heat tape inside your gutters and along the edges of your roof, which can help prevent icicles and ice dams from forming. 

    Tips for Snow Removal Around Your Home 

    NBC4 Washington offers the following tips for snow removal around your home

    • Clear your dryer vent. If it stays clogged, it might cause your dryer to catch on fire. 

    • Clear your tailpipe first when you go outside to warm up your car. (A blocked tailpipe could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.) 

    • Using your hands or a broom, clear snow off your gas meter. Covered vents on gas meters can cause gas to leak outside your home. 

    • For those with a gas fireplace or high efficiency furnace, clear the vent outside. 

    • Heat pumps should be cleared of ice and snow. You should clear off the top, sides, bottom, and around the heat pump itself. If you can’t access the heat pump, consider turning your thermostat to emergency heat, or off. 

    SERVPRO® Cleans After Winter Storm Damage 

    SERVPRO is equipped to handle large and small natural disasters, from blizzards and snow drifts to hurricanes, tornadoes, mudslides, and more. With strategically placed storm teams around the country, there is a franchise nearby, ready to assist 24/7. 

    Excessive snow and water damage can increase the moisture level in and around your home, which can lead to mold damage. SERVPRO franchises are also equipped to provide full-service mold remediation, getting you back up and running as soon as possible. 

    Additionally, SERVPRO franchises provide construction services in both residential and commercial spaces. So if snow damage, ice dams, icicles or more cause damage to your property, once the cleanup and mitigation is complete, if you require construction services, reach out to your local SERVPRO. Your local franchise is equipped to work from beginning to end, pre-construction to post-construction. Whether a small portion of your home needs rebuilt, or entire rooms or floors need serviced, SERVPRO’s construction services are available. 

    SERVPRO is Here to Help® After Snow Damage 24/7 

    With 2210 SERVPRO locations in the United States and Canada, your local franchise is ready to service your cleanup, restoration, and construction needs around the clock. Established in 1967, SERVPRO has decades of experience, and arrives to each job with the equipment, personnel, and knowledge to help return your space to pre-loss condition. SERVPRO also offers additional services like water damage cleanup, fire damage cleanup, document restoration, deodorization, and more. Reach out to your local SERVPRO today for more information. Every SERVPRO franchise is open 24/7, including holidays and weekends. 

    For more information, please visit our FAQ and Glossary.  


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