Exterior of Home

When buying a home, new owners often focus on the immediate costs, such as the down payment and closing costs. Yet, future expenses like home repairs should also be considered. If you’re not prepared, home damage can have a big impact on your finances.

Living in New England, these incidents are more likely to occur during the winter season. Each year, our homes endure all types of winter weather, from sleet and hail to blizzards. Learn more about the damage that can be caused and how to plan for these expenses.

Snow & Ice Damage

According to the Insurance Information Institute, one in every 50 homeowners will file a water damage claim each year, averaging about $10,900. Beyond potentially ruining your belongings, water damage can also lead to plumbing problems and mold or mildew.

One big winter concern is the formation of an ice dam on your roof. When snow melts, freezes and clogs the gutters with ice, the blockage can prevent proper runoff. Ice dams can cause the gutters to detach from your home or loosen roof shingles, leading to a water leak.

Another source of winter damage is freezing rain or snow melt that turns to ice. As the ice expands, it can widen cracks in your home’s foundation. Make sure your downspouts extend at least 6 feet away from the home to divert water away from the foundation.

Freezing Temperatures

It’s important to drain all pipes of excess water before winter arrives. When temperatures drop below freezing, pipes that are exposed to the elements or in areas with poor insulation can freeze. As pressure builds up inside, the pipe can crack and cause major water damage. Ice can also compromise a roof’s structural integrity, leading to a partial or full collapse.

Wind & Hail

Hail is a type of solid precipitation that forms when water freezes inside thunderclouds. The resulting chunks of ice are called hailstones and can vary in size. According to the Insurance Information Institute, hail damage costs $8 billion to $14 billion each year.

It can be strong enough to break windows and cause serious roof damage, particularly when the hailstones are large and wind gusts are strong. Wind also plays a role on its own, potentially bringing down trees and powerlines or lifting shingles. If your home becomes exposed to moisture, it can seep into your attic and cause rot.

Home Maintenance Fund

Budgeting for home repairs can help ensure you have money on-hand when the unexpected happens and can reduce stress. How much should you save for home maintenance?

Consider the one percent rule: Set aside one percent of your home’s value every year for maintenance and repair costs. For a $360,000 home, the savings equate to $3,600 a year or $300 a month. For older homes, you may want to consider saving more if you can afford it.

Keep the money in a high-interest savings account without withdrawal restrictions, so you can earn interest on your money and have quick access when it’s needed.

After a winter weather event, assess the exterior and interior spaces in your home that might have been impacted, including the attic, basement and walls. If you spot any leaks or other signs of damage, have your home evaluated by a professional before it worsens and becomes more expensive to repair. To learn more about opening a savings account for your home maintenance fund, contact Ion Bank today.