How to Handle Water Damage During a Winter Deep Freeze

Winter deep freezes bring with them a unique set of challenges for homeowners, one of the most troublesome being water damage. When temperatures plummet, pipes freeze, ice dams form on roofs, and the risk of leaks and floods increases significantly. Dealing with water damage during such harsh conditions can be daunting, but it’s essential to act swiftly to mitigate the damage. In this blog post, we’ll explore the common causes of water damage during a winter deep freeze and discuss the benefits of calling a professional restoration company for assistance.

Common Causes of Water Damage During a Winter Deep Freeze

  • Freezing Water: The primary cause of pipe bursts during freezes is the freezing of water inside the pipes. When water freezes, it expands, putting tremendous pressure on the walls of the pipe. If this pressure becomes too great, it can cause the pipe to rupture or burst.
  • Inadequate Insulation: Poor insulation or lack of insulation around pipes can make them more vulnerable to freezing. Pipes in unheated areas such as basements, crawl spaces, attics, and exterior walls are particularly at risk if not properly insulated.
  • Exposure to Cold Air: Pipes that are exposed to extremely cold outdoor air temperatures are more likely to freeze. This includes pipes running along exterior walls or those in areas with minimal insulation.
  • Lack of Heat: Inadequate heating in your home, especially in areas where pipes are located, can lead to freezing. This can happen if you set your thermostat too low during extremely cold weather or if heating systems fail.
  • Drafts: Drafts or air leaks in your home can cause cold air to circulate around pipes, lowering their temperature and increasing the risk of freezing.
  • Clogged Pipes: Pipes that are partially or completely clogged with debris, mineral deposits, or ice themselves are more susceptible to freezing. Reduced water flow increases the likelihood of freezing.
  • Exterior Water Sources: Outdoor faucets or pipes connected to hoses can freeze and burst if they are not properly winterized or if water is not shut off and drained before freezing temperatures arrive.
  • Rapid Temperature Drops: Sudden and significant drops in temperature can catch homeowners off guard, causing pipes to freeze and burst before they have a chance to take preventive measures.
  • Pipe Material: Certain types of pipes are more prone to bursting in freezing conditions. For example, older metal pipes, especially those made of iron or galvanized steel, are more susceptible to freezing and bursting than newer plastic or PEX pipes.
  • No Flow or Low Flow: Pipes that have little to no water flow are more likely to freeze because moving water is less likely to freeze than stagnant water. This can happen in rarely used plumbing lines or during periods of low water usage.
  • Thawing and Refreezing: When pipes freeze and then thaw, followed by refreezing, the repeated expansion and contraction of the ice can weaken the pipe walls, making them more prone to bursting.
  • Improper Installation: Pipes that are not installed correctly, especially with insufficient slope for drainage, can trap water, making them more likely to freeze and burst.

Steps to Take When Dealing with Water Damage in Winter

While calling a professional restoration company is essential for proper cleanup and restoration, there are some initial steps you can take when dealing with water damage during a winter deep freeze:

  1. Safety First: Ensure that it’s safe to enter the affected area. If there’s a risk of electrical hazards, structural damage, or slipping on wet surfaces, do not enter.
  2. Turn Off the Water: If you can safely access the main water supply valve, shut it off to stop the flow of water and prevent further damage.
  3. Turn Off Electricity: If water has come into contact with electrical outlets, appliances, or wiring, turn off the electricity to the affected area to prevent electrical hazards.
  4. Document the Damage: Take photographs or videos of the water-damaged areas before any cleanup or restoration efforts begin. This documentation will be valuable for insurance claims.
  5. Remove Excess Water: Use towels, mops, or a wet/dry vacuum to remove as much standing water as possible.
  6. Open Windows and Doors: If weather conditions permit, open windows and doors to help with ventilation and drying.
  7. Contact a Professional: Once you’ve taken these initial steps, contact a professional restoration company to assess the damage and begin the restoration process.

Dealing with water damage in your home during a winter deep freeze can be a challenging experience. However, calling a professional restoration company is the most effective way to ensure a thorough and safe restoration process. With their expertise, specialized equipment, and commitment to preventing mold and further damage, these professionals can help you get your home back to its pre-damage condition, providing peace of mind during a stressful time. Remember that quick action is crucial when dealing with water damage, so don’t hesitate to seek professional help as soon as you notice any signs of damage.

If you are reading this and are facing current water damage in your home, click here to locate a certified Voda technician near you that can help 24/7.


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