How to Troubleshoot The Effects of Ice Around Your Home

Long spiky icicles with a blue background.

The winter brings many things: evenings spent by the fire, celebrations with loved ones, and many other exciting trademarks of the season. Besides those enjoyable winter activities, the season is also accompanied by snow, harsh weather, and with that an abundance of ice. This slippery substance has an effect on many parts of the exterior of your home and if you’re not careful, it could incur unwanted damage. In this post, we’re here to help you troubleshoot these effects in order to keep your landscaping, home, and yard safe all season long!


A driveway and car with snow on them.

Damage caused to your driveway by winter weather can easily become extensive, leading to cracked pavement or corrosion. Luckily, there are several way to prevent these issues as well as troubleshoot them should they arise.

The best method is protection, which eliminates the chance of a problem developing in the first place! To protect your driveway from ice, pour something on it to prevent the formation. An even layer of kitty litter is a cheap and effective option. Another option is to place a waterproof tarp over your driveway when inclement weather is expected. Prior to contrary belief, you should avoid using salt as a preventative because it could damage concrete, while certain deicers are also not the best option because they can lengthen freeze time as well as prolong a thaw cycle.

Finally, before winter weather heads your way, remove leaves and debris from the area to make cleanup simpler. As you’re removing ice and snow from your driveway, use a shovel or tool that is rubber-paddled to avoid scratching the concrete. To safely remove ice from your driveway, there are other methods to use besides salt that are less harsh on your driveway. Rubbing alcohol is one effective substance because of its low freezing point, which means spritzing it on the icy parts of your driveway will melt ice quickly and prevent refreezing.


A frosty window.

It’s not uncommon for ice and frost to form on the outside of your home’s windows during the winter, but the effects of that could be harmful. As frost and ice melt, moisture is transferred to whatever is closest to it. This means your wooden window could end up discolored, damaged, or with cracked paint. This moisture could even end up seeping down into your walls, leading to the eventual growth of mold.

Since those outcomes are undesirable, you’ll want to work against the formation of frost and ice on windows and take precautions against these effects. To prevent these unfavorable issues from occurring, start by caulking any gaps in the seals around your windows before the winter begins. During cold or snowy days, run a dehumidifier to keep your home’s air drier, which makes it harder for ice and frost to form. Also, keep your home adequately warm, especially at night. If you notice frost frequently forming on a particular window or in a particular room, consider adding a space heater in that area to prevent its formation.

Finally, reduce the buildup of frost and ice on your windows by opening up your blinds and curtains. While this may not be the most intuitive thing to do in the middle of the winter, this tip will actually help to circulate air and reduce condensation on windows.


A wood deck with snow and icicles.

A buildup of ice on your deck can be dangerous for several reason, notably because it can cause a dangerous situation for you to walk on. Whether you’re taking your pets out or exiting your house for the day, a slippery set of deck stairs could easily lead to an unwanted accident or injury. While the presence of a layer of ice doesn’t necessarily cause damage to the deck itself, the method of ice removal may cause harm to your wooden deck, and the falling of icicles can also be harmful.

To deal with icicles, carefully knock them from where they’re hanging on your house by using a broom as soon as they begin to form. The longer they hang, the pointier they become at the bottom, and the more easily they can puncture your deck if they fall.

To safely remove ice from your deck, avoid using a metal shovel and instead use one that is easier on your deck, like one made of rubber or plastic. Shovel along the length of the boards to reduce the risk of your shovel catching on the edges of the wood and causing damage.

Finally, you’ll need to choose the correct products to melt ice on your deck. Avoid using anything with a colorant added to it as it could stain a wood deck. If you opt to use salt, wash it away as soon as the snow is clear to reduce the risk of erosion. Refrain from using sand on your deck since it's an abrasive substance that can cause scratches.

Ice can be an annoyance around your home, but be mindful that it can also cause damage if it’s not properly addressed. Luckily, these easy tips and tricks simplify the process of troubleshooting ice’s effects on the outside of your home, so be sure to follow them this upcoming winter.