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Property Winter Storm Tips

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This winter has brought severe weather to many parts of Canada – major storms, heavy snowfalls, and plunging temperatures across most of the country. Harsh winter weather takes a toll on buildings. If the full extent of winter damage goes undetected until spring, the result can be additional issues and costly repairs.

Whether you’re a commercial property owner, property manager or homeowner, your best defence against winter storm damage is knowing the danger zones and how to protect them.

How to Protect Your Property from the Effects of Freezing Rain, Heavy Snow and Extreme Cold

  • Seal all air leaks in basements, crawl spaces and attics. Where air can enter, so can moisture from snow and freezing rain, leading to mould growth and structural damage.
  • Check your roof for loose shingles and leaks. A flatter roof means more snow and ice can collect, creating risk of water damage as snow melts. Getting your roof coated before winter helps keep out moisture. Gutters should also be cleaned so that water drains safely as snow and ice melt.
  • Make sure your attic is properly insulated and ventilated. Balanced heat circulation helps prevent ice from building up on the roof. Properly insulated spaces also reduce the possibility of pipes freezing, then bursting. A properly insulated roof will have an even snow cover.
  • Install pipe insulation sleeves on exposed pipes indoors. When the temperate drops, letting taps run at a drip protects them against freezing. If extremely cold temperatures are expected, you can shut off water valves altogether.
  • Have your electrical system inspected to find and fix any potential problems before a power outage happens. If the power does go out, a back-up power generator will give you peace of mind and a basic amount of electricity.
  • Follow all safety instructions for space heaters and make sure they are in good working condition. Make sure you also have working carbon monoxide detector. Using additional heaters increases the risk of both fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Property Damage Risks after a Winter Storm Hits

  • Roof collapsing: Removing snow quickly lessens the risk of both water and structural damage. Large commercial buildings with flat roofs are most at risk of collapsing from piled-up snow, which can cost thousands of dollars to repair.
  • Water damage: The two main risks are water entry through cracks and floods caused by burst pipes. Mould can begin to grow within 24-48 hours, making quick intervention extremely important.
  • Electrical damage: Water leaks can cause your power to short circuit. A bigger risk: a sparking wire can cause a fire inside your walls.
  • Carbon monoxide build-up: Snow, ice and frost can cause your furnace’s vents to become blocked. Make sure to check vents after a storm and clear them if needed. Blocked vents can cause carbon monoxide to back up into the house, and the consequences can be fatal.
  • How to Restore Your Property after a Winter Storm

    It’s time to trust the professionals if your home or business has been damaged by a winter storm. A trained restoration specialist has the expertise and equipment to fully inspect your property and restore it to its previous condition.

    Here are the some of the key ways a restoration company can help:

    • Removing snow loads from the roof. This can include using specialized equipment such as heating cables and chemical de-icers.
    • Removing ice dams. These ridges of ice form at the edge of roof, preventing melting snow from draining and creating a risk of damage from trapped water. A restoration specialist will cut channels in ice dams to remove them.
    • Installing drying and dehumidification equipment when water damage occurs indoors. A restoration specialist will also use tools like thermal imaging cameras to detect hidden pockets of moisture within insulation and wall cavities.
    • Assessing damage to structural aspects of a building – roofs, walls, ceilings, floors – and completing full restoring or rebuilding.
    • Inspecting for and repairing any electrical damage from downed power lines, power surges, and water damage to electrical outlets, panels, wiring and appliances. If water has made contact with any electrical equipment, do not touch. Contact a qualified repair person to check for and repair any damage.

    When hiring a restoration company, make sure it is certified by a professional standards organization such as the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). Certified technicians provide trusted and trained cleaning, restoration and inspection.

    For more information about winter storm risks and restoration solutions contact us. If you are a commercial property owner, help prepare for disaster with a PREP Program.

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    For Emergency Disaster Restoration Services,
    Call 1.877.778.6731