As the winter season blankets Chicagoland in a layer of frost and snow, homeowners are dealing with both the chill in the air and the potential impact on their property

Winter weather can pose unique challenges for your home, and understanding these issues is crucial for maintaining a comfortable and secure living space. From burst pipes to failing roofs, the problems that arise when mercury falls can range from a nuisance to a catastrophe. 

As a homeowner, being aware of some of the most common problems identified during home inspections in winter can help you prevent or mitigate these risks. Let’s delve into this season’s challenges and how they can be resolved through thorough regular maintenance, thinking proactively, and professional home inspections. 

When Ice and Snow Melt Meets Roofing Materials

One of the major consequences of winter weather is the fluctuation in temperature. Heavy snow followed by freeze and thaw cycles creates prime conditions for ice dams along roof edges and valleys. Water from rain and snow can get trapped behind these blockages and cause major roof damage, leaks, and the perfect environment for mold and mildew.

Inadequate insulation in your attic and heat loss lead to nonuniform surface temperatures on your roof, with some higher areas much warmer than the outside air. As the snow melts and moves downward, it can encounter colder parts of the roof, re-freeze, and create a major buildup of liquid and debris. Improper or clogged drainage can trigger flooded basements or foundations, mold, and decay issues if left unaddressed.

Water backing up under roofing shingles triggers interior leaks, and decays rafters and sheathing. While it’s impossible to completely predict or prevent moisture intrusion into your abode, there are some steps you can take to reduce the chances and protect your possessions

An inspector will be on the lookout for interior and exterior signs that indicate the need for immediate roof action, such as stains, deteriorating flashing, and missing or damaged shingles. 

Protecting Your Pipes

Frozen pipes are a notorious winter woe in Chicagoland. When water freezes within the pipes, it expands, creating pressure that can lead to cracks or bursting. Even a tiny crack can spew hundreds of gallons of water into your home, wrecking your belongings and racking up serious repair bills 

Plumbing winterization is crucial for homeowners, especially those residing in one of the area’s charming historic houses or bungalows. Pipes in places like your attic, garage, exterior walls, and crawl space are more likely to freeze when temps drop. 

Experts recommend using foam or fiberglass sleeves as well as adding heat tape or cables. It’s also important to make sure you’ve got adequate sealant and caulking to prevent leakage and help keep water flowing.

During a home inspection, our skilled technicians meticulously examine your plumbing system, checking for any signs of existing damage or vulnerable areas. They can also evaluate your pipes to help you ensure proper protection against freezing temperatures, reducing the risk of costly water damage.

Preventing Potential Problems

Tiny gaps around aging chimneys, soffits, or foundations roll out the red carpet for mice seeking warmth and squirrels, raccoons, or possums hunting for safe shelter. Winterizing your abode can help locate and remove potential pests and insect habitats.  

Drafty windows and doors can significantly impact your home’s energy efficiency during winter. 

Properly sealed entrances and openings not only keep your home cozy but also contribute to lower energy bills by preventing heat loss.

Your furnace also deserves special attention. Annual inspection and maintenance can help you avoid unpleasant surprises, according to the experts at This Old House. They recommend replacing your filters regularly, testing your system before the first cold snap, and upgrading to a smart thermostat. 

Professional home inspectors scrutinize these areas and much more, looking for gaps, cracks, damaged weather stripping that could allow cold air to infiltrate, and other warning signs of potential problems with your property. 

If you’re a current homeowner, investing in a comprehensive inspection can help you save money, get peace of mind, and reduce the odds of Chicago’s wild winter weather causing expensive damage. Now is the perfect time to schedule a visit from one of Windy City’s best experts — reach out to us today!