Old man winter is here and so are the cold and sometimes hazardous weather conditions that can cause serious damage to your home. As any Arkansas residential appraiser will tell you, freezing temperatures and ice wreak the most havoc in our state, but here are a few tips on how to avoid a loss.
There are few things that an Arkansas residential appraiser sees that can be as detrimental to a home’s value as a harsh winter. Ice, snow, and freezing temperatures can do more to damage to this very important investment, and thus to its worth, than most would think. Fortunately, much of this damage can be prevented with just a little bit of work.
Protect Your Pipes
Water damage is one of the easiest ways to dramatically lower a home’s value. Excessive water damage leads to rust, rotting wood, and mold growth. These problems can lead to expensive, intrusive repairs. While water damage is typically thought of as occurring during floods and heavy rainfall, it is a common occurrence during the winter months as well.
Ice accumulates inside of poorly insulated pipes when exposed to subfreezing temperatures. This greatly increases water pressure inside the pipe. When the pressure gets too high, the pipe bursts and floods the inside of the home with water. This can cause thousands of dollars in damage. The average insurance claim for burst pipes is over $10,000. Thankfully this is easily mitigated by properly insulating pipes, especially in areas exposed to outside walls or within attics or crawl spaces.
Treat Your Concrete
Winter is especially harsh on concrete surfaces. The thawing and freezing cycle of ice causes cracks to form in the concrete. Each cycle can make these cracks larger and more visible. Treat concrete surfaces such as your driveway and sidewalks to prevent this damage by using a concrete sealer. Most of these can be easily applied as a do-it-yourself project and dry in just 2 to 4 hours after application.
Be Prepared for Ice Storms
Limbs and trees that fall on property during ice storms largely contribute to residential winter damage. The weight of ice on power lines that cause outages can put poorly insulated pipes at risk of freezing and bursting. During the warmer months, take some time to look over your property and remove any dead or broken overhanging limbs which may present a hazard during an ice storm. If they are near utility lines, do not remove these limbs yourself, contact the utility company to remove them instead. Consider investing in a portable generator as well. If icy lines cause a power outage, you could be stranded without heat for hours or even days. A portable generator can not only keep you warm, but provide the heat needed to prevent pipes from freezing as well.
Take the First Steps
A home is a major investment, and as a homeowner it is vital to take any precaution you can to protect that investment. Ferstl Valuation Services provides a full range of appraisal and consulting services. Contact an experienced Arkansas residential appraiser today for more on how to protect your home this