Cold weather plus water can equal disaster for your midwestern home. 

Unexpected water damage can occur at any time in your home, but you can expect the unexpected during the winter and early spring months.

Beware of what can cause water damage to your home, and learn how to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Potential Causes for Winter Water Damage

Flooding may seem like the obvious culprit of water damage in your Sioux Falls home — whether it be from a leaky water heater or a deluge of rain — but there are many contributing factors to water in your home.

Snowmelt is one of the main offenders when it comes to winter water damage in homes. As it falls beautifully and peacefully from the sky, it builds up in your gutters and near your foundation waiting to melt and flood the inside of your home.

Temperature is another key player contributing to potential water damage. The cold temperatures can wreak havoc and cause pipes to burst, leaving you with unwanted water in your home.

Ice dams form when the underside of the roof warms unevenly, causing snow to melt faster. Water runs down to the colder portion of the roof then freezes again, obstructing flow of runoff into gutters. Pooling water then seeps through shingles and sub-roofing and causes water damage in the attic.

Blocked gutters can cause serious problems when ice or debris get caught. Gutters direct the water away from our home so it’s best to keep the path clear. 

frozen roof on home in South Dakota

Six Ways to Prevent Water Damage


Fight the frozen pipes by installing insulation on all supply pipes potentially exposed to freezing temperatures. Foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves are commonly used insulators that help keep them warm and prevent ice blockages from forming. 


Making sure the attic is properly ventilated to remain uniformly cold will help prevent ice dams. You’ll want a natural ventilation flow to take place, with warm air escaping somewhere other than through the roof.

Seal Cracks

Seal cracks, gaps, and other openings with caulking to prevent heat loss in the attic and water leaking in surrounding your home’s foundation.

Relieve Pressure

When extreme cold or freeze is forecast, open faucets slightly and allow them to drip to relieve pressure in case they freeze over. This will help prevent ice build up within your pipes and a potential pipe burst.

Control Temperature

Keeping your thermostat set to the same temperature during the day and at night may cause your heating costs to rise, but you’ll prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. If you’re leaving home for more than two days, leave the heat on in your home. Set the temperature to no lower than 55 °F. 

Maintain Your Sump Pump

Sump pump maintenance is specially important during spring with snowmelt and rainfall or when heavy rainfall is in the forecast. Learn more about tips for maintaining your sump pump and if your South Dakota home could use one.

What to Do if the Worst Happens

Even when you take all precautions, disaster can still strike. 

Whether a pipe bursts, your sump pump quits working, or you experience spring flooding our water restoration services can help.

Just remember, the sooner you call the better! With our 24-hour emergency service, we will dispatch a crew whenever you need us in the Sioux Falls, Yankton, and Brookings areas.