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Winterize Your Home to Prevent Water Damage and Mold

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Published on Nov 20, 2014

Strong winds, rain, snow, and ice can all takes its toll on a home and winter temperatures can also freeze and burst pipes. During the winter season, damage from any one of these may allow moisture to enter a property and cause damage and mold growth.

Because winter weather can be so tough on a house, it’s important to takes steps to prepare for the season and prevent problems from occurring. The following steps can help protect a home from winter weather, water damage and mold growth. They include:

• Insulate any exposed pipes and evaluate if the home’s attic, walls, basement or crawl space needs more insulation. This is also a good time to check for any signs of water damage from existing leaks.
• Be sure the attic is well ventilated.
• Shut off the water to exterior hose bibs and drain those water lines if possible. Also shut off and drain the yard’s irrigation system.
• Clean gutters and down spouts to make sure water is able to drain properly and to minimize the risk of ice dams.
• Make sure water drains away from the home.
• Check to make sure any fireplaces are operating properly and are not obstructed.
• Caulk around windows, doors and other opening, also fix any cracks or holes in the foundation.
• Check for drafts and add weather stripping anywhere it’s worn or missing.
• Consider having your heating system inspected before it’s needed to make sure it is operating properly and that there are no carbon monoxide hazards. This is also a good time to change the air filters and inspect for debris in the ducts.
• Check the roof, flashing, chimney, siding and skylights for any signs of damage.
• Trim back any branches that could cause damage to the house during a winter storm.
• If the home is summer property or is going to be empty for an extended period of time shut off and drain the water system.

If moisture does enter a home, it can allow mold to begin to grow in as short as 24 to 48 hours under certain conditions so it’s important to clean and dry any materials that become wet. If mold is found, it can sometimes be removed from nonporous materials, but porous materials will often have to be replaced. Removing these materials improperly could aerosolize and spread mold throughout a house.

These are just a few things to know about winterizing your home to prevent water damage and mold. To learn more about this or other health and safety, indoor air quality, occupational or environmental issues, please visit the websites shown in the video.

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