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How Cold Weather Affects Your Home

Cold weather means snow, ice, and low temperatures. It might be nice to stay inside or play in the snow, but this weather can have a serious impact on your home. Appliances, the exterior, and the plumbing are all at risk due to the fluctuating temperatures and weather conditions. It’s important to know how cold weather affects your home so that you take the necessary precautions and embrace the winter.

Appliances

Freezing temperatures can affect your appliances. In particular, appliances located in basements, in garages, and near outside walls are more susceptible due to their proximity to outside temperatures. The most-affected appliances are your washing machine, refrigerator, and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system. Washing machines use water with hoses and pumps; this water can freeze under cold temperatures. Disconnect your water lines from the wall or wrap the washer hoses with pipe insulation to prevent this. If your refrigerator is near a poorly ventilated wall, such as in the basement or garage, the pipes in the machine may freeze. Refrigerators in your kitchen should be safe from winter weather, but you can protect the ones in your basement or garage with a space heater or by disconnecting the hoses. Outdoor HVAC systems are designed for all weather conditions, but be sure to clear the area in case of heavy snow.

Exterior

Believe it or not, the cold weather can also damage your home’s exterior. Paint can peel off due to temperature fluctuations, exposing the exterior to the snow, and building materials such as wood can expand, contract, and weaken.

Moisture

Dry winter air can pull moisture from your home, causing floors to creak, walls and ceilings to crack, and doors to be harder to open or close. Worst of all, fluctuating temperatures can lead to window condensation, increasing the humidity, mold growth, and freezing on the glass. Cracks and gaps in siding also lead to heat loss, which can be costly for your energy bill.

Plumbing

Frozen pipes are one of the most important risks of cold weather—they’re prone to bursting, which can lead to disaster. Your home may experience serious water damage and potential flooding. Fortunately, you can simply wrap pipes in insulation for warmth.

Written by Logan Voss

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