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Understanding Water Damage Hazards in Mammoth Lakes

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Water damage to your property can be costly, and it occurs quite often here in Mammoth.  Our winter climate is much to blame, but also the fact the many properties are frequently unoccupied.

The most common causes of water damage are caused by:

– Frozen pipes
– Appliance failure
– Ice dams forming on the roof eves

Water damage from frozen pipes is common and costly here in Mammoth. Water pipes which are inadequately protected from freezing temperatures can burst, and when they do, will likely destroy walls, floors, ceilings, furniture and other personal property. By today’s building standards, water pipes are protected from freezing by being routed in such a fashion to avoid vulnerable areas such as exterior walls, attics, and crawl spaces. However, not all homes are created equal. If your home is older than 20 years, or has any dubious improvements, you may be at higher risk of frozen pipes.  Better to be safe than sorry — prepare.

water damage
Appliances which use water, and water supply lines to toilets or sink faucets are bound to spring a leak eventually. If you detect the leak within a few hours, damage is usually fairly minor. If the leak goes undetected for weeks, then there’s a good chance you’ll have expensive damage.  The key is to not let a leak go unchecked for long.

Ice dams form when accumulated snow on the roof melts due to heat escaping the house through the roof. The melted snow runs down to the eve where there is no heat from below and refreezes on the eve.  The ice builds up on the eve to the point where it blocks the melting snow from draining, and the water creeps up under the roof panels into the house. While not as catastrophic as a burst pipe, water intrusion due to ice damming is difficult to correct quickly. In many instances, you’ll need a professional snow removal company or roofing company to clear the ice dam.

Water damage mitigation measures

– Turn your water off while away for more than a few days.
– Keep interior temperatures well above freezing. Depending on your home’s construction, you may need to set your thermostat to at least 50ºF.
– Install an Internet connected thermostat. If you leave your home unoccupied for periods of a few days or more, this will allow you to monitor and set the inside temperature from a remote location.  If a cold snap is forecast, you’ll be ready.
– For second home owners, employ a professional property management service.  Their primary function is to identify and prevent conditions which can cause damage to your home.
– Install heat tape on eves which activates when temperatures are below freezing to prevent ice dams. For safety reasons, and best results, a professional roofing company is recommended for this task.

Written by Jay Cole

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