What post-winter damage might your home have sustained this year?
- Now that spring is here, homeowners should check for post-winter damage.
- Check your gutters and roof for water or ice damage.
- Repair sidewalk and driveway cracks.
- Check outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems for leaks or broken pipes.
- Clean your outdoor HVAC unit.
The last blanket of winter snow just melted, and everyone’s excited about spring. Although you may have some fun activities planned, don’t forget that winter storms often leave unnoticed damage. Check your home for these types of post-winter damage and fix them quickly, or your spring plans might have to wait for household repairs.
1. Inspect your gutters
Gutters direct rainwater away from your home’s foundation. They’re essential to safe water drainage on any property, but winter can cause ice dams that block water flow. Grab a ladder and safely climb high enough to peer into your gutters. You should be able to pull out any storm debris and chip away at lingering ice.
When people leave clogs in their gutters, the overflowing rainwater can eventually erode their foundation and landscaping. Nothing will block the heavy downpours from hitting the ground around your home.
Animals can also nest or lay eggs in a gutter’s standing water. You wouldn’t want to contract one of the many viruses spread by mosquitos after they hatch from eggs in your gutter and bite you while everyone has springtime fun in your backyard.
2. Check your roof for post-winter damage
People can’t visually inspect their roofs from the ground, so it’s easy to forget that it’s a crucial step in checking your home for post-winter damage. Melted snow could have left behind water stains, while hail created broken shingles. Yard debris can also prevent water from evaporating from your shingles if it piles up.
Carefully climb onto your roof to give it a quick visual inspection. A professional inspector could also safely perform the check for you. Stains and warping could indicate you need to replace some shingles. You could install the original material or upgrade to weatherproof your home.
Outdated roofing materials could continue falling apart. However, if you install something like asphalt shingles that are durable in extreme weather, you might not pay for repairs for years to come. It would be an investment in your property and prepare it for many more winters.
Related: 6 types of winter storm damage to avoid for your home
3. Find any driveway or walkway cracks
When snow melts and refreezes, it can push existing cracks apart in driveways and sidewalks. Walk along both while paying attention to small and large cracks. If left unsealed, they could continue splitting apart during cold snaps, eventually breaking your driveway into multiple pieces. It should remain a safe, sturdy surface for vehicles and any foot traffic you might have on your property.
Sealing cracks is easy and typically takes up less than an afternoon. All you need is a sealant product that matches your driveway’s material and whatever supplies are necessary according to the product’s packaging. If there are deeper cracks than you think you can manage, driveway repair contractors or local businesses can step in to resolve the issue.
4. Grease door hinges
External-facing doors sometimes have hinges that face outward. They’re more at risk of rusting if snow or rain can reach them. Inspect your door hinges to clean rust away and grease them for optimal usage. If the rust continuously grows, the doors might not open wide enough for anyone to pass through.
It’s also good to check any screen doors while looking at hinges. Flying branches and curious animals may have scratched through the material during winter storms. Repairing them with a patch or a new screening sheet only takes a few minutes. Your doorways will stay usable, and you won’t worry about summer pests buzzing through the tears in your screen doors.
Related: Prepare your home for winter – Easy tips!
5. Run your outdoor faucets
When you have enough time, stop by each of your outdoor faucets this spring. They should turn on and immediately dispense water. Any faucets that struggle to produce water or make strange noises while operating could need further attention.
Freezing temperatures can expand and shrink the pipes connecting your faucets to your water supply. Sometimes that’s frozen water that melts during a warm afternoon. Other times, the pipes could have significant damage and even leak. Call a professional plumber if you suspect something is wrong with your outdoor faucets.
6. Watch for deck discoloration
Your deck is constantly under attack by natural elements. After holding up against sheets of snow and ice all winter, it may have some discoloration. Water can stain untreated wood and create mold or rot, making your deck unsafe. Once the problem gets too big, you’ll have to replace chunks of your deck or the entire thing.
Avoid that problem by checking its upper and lower surfaces. A mix of water and bleach can remove water stains before you apply a weatherproof sealant. There may also be water stain remover available at a local hardware store.
7. Clean your HVAC unit
It’s always a good idea to schedule a professional HVAC unit inspection once or twice a year. An HVAC technician will spot potential concerns like winter storm debris in your unit or water leakage that erodes the machinery. They’ll also ensure it works efficiently. When you turn on your AC, you’ll have a system ready to keep your family comfortable.
8. Operate your sprinkler system
Winter weather can damage in-ground sprinkler systems even if you haven’t turned them on since last fall. Due to freezing temperatures, they might get blocked by soggy soil or have cracked pipes.
After noticing an issue, fix your sprinkler system by first turning off your water line. Without any water or water pressure in the pipes, you can safely take apart piping or sprinkler heads to repair whatever needs attention without water flooding your yard. Sometimes sprinklers need a quick fix. Other times, you might need to schedule a maintenance visit. It depends on the damage and what you can fix with your household maintenance experience.
Related: Top homeowners risks (and tips on how to lower them)
Inspect your home for post-winter damage
These are some of the most common problems homeowners face after winter storms roll through their region one last time. Check your home for post-winter damage to prevent it from becoming a costly problem. Even small steps like cleaning your gutter or sealing driveway cracks will significantly protect your property.
Agents, take a look at our Homeowners Program to add to your portfolio of insurance solutions.