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3 Problems That Could Affect Your Home When Weather Changes Drastically in Michigan

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3 Problems That Could Affect Your Home When Weather Changes Drastically in Michigan Blog Feature
Amanda Ringler

By: Amanda Ringler on February 5th, 2020

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It’s winter. It’s spring. It’s Wednesday in Michigan.

This has been the trend so far in 2020 with a winter that feels like spring on most days with winter popping up once in a while to remind us all where we live.

This time last year the temperature in Michigan literally killed my car. I had to buy a new battery and everything. There were negative degree temperatures and we all prayed Mother Nature would stop being so aggressive.

This year we got what we wanted, but it’s been a little touch and go.

I went to work wearing my full winter parka because it was winter cold. I left work only wearing a sweatshirt because it went from a brisk 20-degrees to a much balmier 55-degrees.

This kind of weather flip-flopping doesn’t just wreak havoc on our wardrobe, think about what it is doing to your home.

It’s snowing and freezing one minute, then it’s raining, and finally, it’s bright and sunny. This can lead to problems in your home that you wouldn’t expect that can cause significant damage. We’re gonna dive into these problems that can arise and I’ll explain what can be done to help. 

Flip-Flopping Weather Changes in Michigan Can Impact Your Home

You might find the weather annoying because it is dampening your mood but it’s really cramping your home’s style.

I’m about to talk about science, but I promise it won’t be boring and you’ll find it helpful.

Here are a few things that can happen to your home when the weather can’t make up its mind and is going from cold to warm back to cold.

Frost Wedging

The weather freezing and thawing over and over again can lead to a phenomenon in your home known as frost wedging.

Now let’s explain what frost wedging is.

When a liquid freezes, it expands in size. Let’s think of it like a pothole – water freezes in the pole hole, thus making it larger. Then the water freezes again, making the hole larger and the process happens over and over again until you have a monster, car-eating pothole.

Just like frost wedging damages the roads, it can do a real number on your roof.

That water freezing and unfreezing, contracting and expanding, will happen under the shingles of your roof. Now those shingles are separating from the roof. Another equally horrible thing that can happen is if there is an existing penetration in the roof, it’s just going to get bigger and bigger before you even realize it’s there.

Something that can help prevent this is stopping heat loss from the underside of the roof through the attic. Creating that air barrier can make sure your poor insulation isn’t contributing to the problem.

Another trouble spot where frost wedging can happen is your foundation walls. The same issue can arise with the water leaking in through cracks, freezing, expanding, and making those foundation cracks larger and larger.

Even in this scenario, adding an air seal to your crawl space or basement can help ensure that subpar insulation isn’t making the problem that much worse.

Truss Lifting

Isn’t the possibility of holes growing in your roof and foundation scary enough, now we’re talking about truss lifting?

Truss lifting is when wooden trusses shrink, and the bottom-most piece bows upwards and is most noticeable in the middle. This happens in wood-frame homes where the non-load-bearing walls meet the ceiling. As truss lifting happens, it pulls the ceiling drywall up. 

So, what causes truss lifting? You guessed it – temperature change.

Poor insulation in your home is the main cause of truss lifting, but with the moisture and inconsistent temperatures fluctuating it will happen more often. Not only will the truss lifting happen more frequently, but the expansion of the wood will be larger as it shrinks and grows.

Updating the insulation in your attic can combat truss lifting. You can’t control the weather, but you can control how the weather is affecting this issue.

Ice Dams

If you notice icicles that look more like stalactites in a cave, you probably have ice dams.

Again, when the weather flip-flops and you have snow that melts on your roof it runs down to the gutters. When the impending cold snap returns that water freezes again. This refreezing can lead to some serious damage to your roof as it is trapping water and freezes it under the shingles.

Creating an air seal in the attic can help prevent ice dams, but with the weather going back and forth they will still form.

Combatting Michigan’s Sketchy Weather with Insulation

You aren’t some kind of mad scientist who can control the weather, and neither are we.

Because you can’t control what Mother Nature does you can control what happens with your house. Creating that air seal I talked about before can at least help not only keep your home comfortable and energy-efficient, but can also help combat the issues of frost wedging, truss lifting, and ice damming.

There are a lot of added benefits of foam insulation in your home. If you want to learn more, check out the Learning Center on our website. 

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Truss Lifting: What is it and How to Fight it

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About Amanda Ringler

Amanda previously has worked as a breaking news and crime reporter, TV news producer, and editor in Flint and Detroit. Throughout her career as a journalist, she has won several awards from The Society of Professional Journalists - Detroit Chapter and the Michigan Press Association. As part of the RetroFoam of Michigan family, Amanda uses her experience as a journalist to write content that will help educate homeowners on the benefits of foam insulation. When Amanda isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and rescued huskies. She also loves knitting, making art, cooking, and hosting dinner and a movie night for friends and family.