Every climate poses unique challenges when it comes to building maintenance and construction. If you own a home in a cold area, it's likely you've experienced some of the added considerations that have to be taken into account when the mercury drops. Even so, there might still be some potential issues in your home that could use a little attention.
Condensation is very likely to happen in areas where air and surfaces of different temperatures meet. Picture a glass of ice water on a hot summer day. Now picture what may be going on in your heating ducts, pipes, and other surfaces where warm and cold meet. Make sure that these areas are sufficiently insulated, and keep an eye out for mold. If your home was built before 1960, you may need to install vapor barriers.
Ice dams occur when too much warm air rises into a home's attic, causing snow on the roof to melt. The resulting water can easily refreeze elsewhere, preventing roofs from draining properly and potentially leading to serious leaks, interior water damage, and even collapse. If your roof appears to be damaged, be sure to hire professionals like those at Chinook Roofing right away to fix the problem. Make sure attics are well-insulated, and add more insulation or vents if necessary.
Carbon monoxide is produced by anything that burns fuel. Cold climates usually lead to a greater need for fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, or heating systems that can produce this odorless, invisible killer. Keep all heating systems clean and well-maintained, and make sure CO detectors have fresh batteries regularly.
While rats and mice can be a problem in any home, cold climates make a toasty home look particularly appealing. Make sure all cracks or holes in foundations, spaces where pipes enter walls, and anywhere else rodents can enter are completely sealed.
Window frame materials tend to expand and contract with the ambient temperature, though the degree of this change depends on the material. Windows that are exposed to sunlight for much of the day will expand and contract more than those that remain a more consistent temperature throughout. This can lead to gaps around window frames where heat can escape. Check windows, and seal any gaps around warped frames.
Maintaining a home in a cold climate isn't necessarily difficult, just different from homes in warmer areas. By keeping a lookout for these potential trouble spots, you'll protect your home and avoid spending thousands in repairs.