Winter brings the threat of freezing temperatures and harsh conditions for both residential and commercial buildings. Following are some common winter threats, and what you can do to avoid them.
One of the most common causes of damage during the colder months is freezing and bursting pipes. If you have a vacation home that you don’t use during the winter months, you may want to avoid having to heat the property when no one is there. But failing to keep adequate heat in the building can cause pipes to freeze. One option is to drain the lines so there is no water to freeze. Some pipes are not very well insulated, passing through unheated areas such as crawlspaces, basements or garages. These can be wrapped in pre-molded foam rubber sleeves, fiberglass insulation, or heating tape to keep them from freezing.
As winter recedes, melting snow and ice bring new concerns for building owners. Runoff can bring flooding concerns – in many areas of the country snowmelt is the greatest threat for flooding. The bad news is that flooding from snowmelt is still flooding, so it’s not covered by standard commercial or residential insurance policies. You will need to purchase flood insurance coverage to handle this loss. To prevent the loss, be sure to remove snow from your roof whenever possible and keep snowpiles away from your home or commercial building. Make sure that sump pumps are all functioning and that items stored in lower levels are protected from water by storing in plastic containers or elevating them on shelves.
Damage caused by ice, sleet or snow
Ice, sleet and snow can be incredibly destructive to property. The best way to avoid this damage is to be vigilant about removing the ice or snow as soon as possible and keeping your building in good physical condition. Repair any loose shingles on the roof or loose siding on the building. Be sure that windows are sealed properly, and that tree limbs are not hanging over the building – loaded down with ice or snow, limbs can cause substantial damage.
Protecting your building from harsh winter conditions takes a great deal of care. Sometimes despite everything you do to prepare, Old Man Winter packs a little more punch than you bargained for. For help in making sure that your insurance policy provides the correct coverage to handle these weather situations, contact our office.