Monday, August 31, 2015

Looks Like We're in for Another Cold Winter

The Old Farmer's Almanac is predicting another cold, snowy winter this year.

We wish we could tell you that you suffered enough last winter, so you're going to be rewarded with a mild winter this year. Unfortunately, the predictions are saying the opposite. Maybe it's like sports: win one challenge, and your reward is the chance to train for an even bigger one.

But if you're thinking of resigning yourself to another winter full of ice dams and frozen pipes, think again. Most of those problems don't actually come from cold temperatures or lots of snow. They happen when houses aren't ready for New Hampshire winters. The good news is that if a house is built right, you won't need to shovel the roof or worry about structural damage, even if we get as much snow as we did last year.

The bad news is that the majority of houses built in New Hampshire are not built like that. Sometimes this is due to the ignorance of the builders, but more often it's because they knew better and still chose to cut corners to save costs.

What can you do to help your house weather the weather this winter? There are just four major things to address:
  • The roof. Make sure the sheathing and the shingles are in good shape. Check the rafters to ensure that they are close enough together and thick enough for your roof type and slope, and that none of them is cracked or rotting. Replace anything that's damaged or worn out, and shore up the structure if you need to.
  • Strength of the structure. Be sure that your strong roof has a strong house and foundation to sit on. Remember that the purpose of all the structural elements of the house is to safely transfer that weight to the earth.
  • Sealing up drafts. A lot of times, frozen pipes and other winter damage is due to leaks where warm air rushes out of the house or cold air blows in. Look for little cracks and holes, especially around doors and windows, and where the main house meets the foundation.
  • Insulation. From the foundation to the roof, there's no substitute for insulation. Insulation, along with ventilation, prevents ice dams and dangerous icicles. It reduces material stress due to expansion and contraction, and it can protect your pipes from freezing.
While every house has different needs, most winter issues fall under one of these categories.


New Hampshire Construction

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