Did Old Man Winter Leave Your House a Mess?

Across the country, Old Man Winter seems like he’s getting ready to pack it in, and longer days and warmer temperatures are here. As we emerge from our hibernation, it’s time to check on our homes and other structures. While the falling snow may have looked pretty while we were safe indoors, the freezing temperatures may have been wreaking havoc with the outside of our homes.

As you head outside, here are a few things to check that may have affected by winter, from the top down:

  1. Check Your Chimney: Your chimney is built to withstand some pretty intense heat from roaring fires, but the exterior is not as durable in winter months. During the winter months, water can penetrate the brick and freeze and expand. Water that freezes within the brick chimney can result in cracks in the brick and mortar and cause eventual degradation of the entire chimney over time. We recommend having your fireplace inspected annually after the winter months to identify cracks in need of repair to prevent further damage.
  2. Inspect Your Gutters: Snow and ice can build up in the gutters, the weight of which has the capacity to pull down even a new gutter system. It is important to pay attention to how much ice buildup is present in your gutters. And, if you’ve fitted your roof with energy saving solar panels, heavy ice and snow buildup around the panels may slide off the roof resulting in damage to your gutters.
  3. Look at Your Downspouts: It is possible that your gutters survived the winter months, but your downspout was split open as a result of ice buildup. Inspect your downspouts for any splits that occurred during the winter. A damaged downspout can route stormwater adjacent to your foundation wall. If your foundation wall contains any existing cracks, the stormwater can penetrate the cracks resulting in further damage.
  4. Consider Your Foundation: Cold winter temperatures can result in water freezing adjacent to or below your foundation. Inspect your home’s foundation wall and the supports below decks and exterior stairs. When water freezes at or near a foundation, the foundation can experience frost heave causing your foundation to crack or be pushed out of the ground.

If you believe winter caused an issue to the exterior of your home or business, CED Technologies has structural engineers on staff trained to investigate and recognize the cause and origin of structural damage. If you have a case or claim involving structural damage, call CED at 800-780-4221 or contact us to reach one of our experts.