What Is A Polar Vortex?
Every winter, the phrase “polar vortex” means suiting up in our warmest winter coats, hats, and gloves. The Polar Vortex refers to a zone of cold air that gravitates toward the Earth’s poles, according to the National Weather Service. We experience the Polar Vortex when that air takes a trip south during the winter via the jet stream, bringing us our own slice of Arctic air. It creates almost unbearable, cold conditions. It may come as a surprise to know that our homes and businesses, too, can suffer from the cold. Just as we need our heavy coats and cozy scarves, our homes and businesses need protection.
Effects of The Polar Vortex
Our homes and businesses can fall victim to freezing pipes and ice dams, which can both lead to serious water damage, during the “polar vortex” of the winter. It's freezing, Arctic temperatures can cause the water inside of pipes to freeze and expand, which can result in pipes bursting. On the roof, when snow and ice accumulate, ridges of ice can form and block melting snow from leaving the roof. This is called "Ice Damming" and causes water to leak down through the roof and into the home.
How Do I Prepare?
- Clean snow off of the roof as soon as possible. Be sure to remove any lingering snow or ice from a previous storm off the roof first.
- Be sure that your attic or top floor is properly insulated before a storm. If your amount of insulation is lacking, adding extra insulation may be helpful.
- Before a storm, be sure that all pipes are insulated and any cracks are sealed.
- When temperatures drop, let your faucets drip in order to keep water flowing.
- Maintain consistent, warm temperatures inside of your home or business. Additionally, make certain that your insulation is sufficient throughout the home or building