Avoid the Hidden Costs of Winter Weather!

unfreeze water pipes

I don’t know many people who actually enjoy mountains of snow and bitterly cold temperature. It’s no secret that the winter months can easily turn a reasonable natural gas or electric bill into a monster!

However, monster heating bills aren’t your only financial worry during the cold winter months. If you aren’t careful, you could become a victim of some of these hidden costs of winter weather…

Frozen Pipes

When winter weather gets bitter and cold, it puts the water pipes in your home at risk of freezing. This can get pretty serious and end up costing you a nice chunk of change.

How It Can Cost You

When water freezes, it expands. And, when water expands inside of pipes, it can cause the pipes to burst. If this happens, you’ll need to come up with money to repair the burst pipes. Even if you opt to forego the plumber and fix burst pipes yourself, it can still be pretty pricey. Worse yet, if your pipes burst when you’re away from home or sleeping, it can cause some serious water damage.

Avoid This Hidden Cost

An ounce of prevention goes a long way when it comes to winter weather freezing your pipes. If your budget allows, insulate around pipes outside and along outdoor walls. You may also want to invest in heat tape or thermal pipe wrap, which keeps your pipes warm. If you can’t afford to do this, at least leave your water running a little when the temperatures really dip, since moving water is much less likely to freeze.

Snowy Roof

During heavy snowfalls, ice and snow can pile u on top of your home, especially if you have a flatter pitch.

How It Can Cost You

The sheer weight of several inches of snow that can accumulate on your roof after days of snow can put some serious pressure on the structure. If this pressure gets to be too much, it can actually cause parts of your roof to collapse. This is costly to repair, and there’s a good chance you’ll need to make other housing arrangements until it can be fixed. Even if your roof doesn’t collapse, mounds of snow on your roof can also cause seepage and water damage when the snow starts to melt. If the snow melts from heat escaping from your home, it can also cause ice dams to form, which can be extremely dangerous of they fall.

Avoid This Hidden Cost

Heating cables for your roof are a great way to prevent snow from building up on your roof, but these aren’t always in everyone’s budget. Long handled snow rakes can be used by homeowners to remove excessive freshly fallen snow from the roofs of one-story buildings. However, climbing ladders and dealing with ice dams is extremely dangerous, snow removal involving these should be handled by professionals. Warning signs of a possible roof collapse include sticking interior doors, fresh cracks in the plaster around door frames, sagging rafters, and creaking noises.

Snowy and Icy Sidewalks

When winter weather rages outside, the last thing most people want to do is shovel their sidewalks. The pie up of snow and ice can be more than just a mere annoyance, though.

How It Can Cost You

Sidewalks that are covered in snow and ice are dangerous, plain and simple. If you or  family member slips and falls, it could mean expensive hospital bills and lost wages. If someone else slips and falls, you could be liable to pay for their hospital bills. Some municipalities may even fine property owners who do not shovel the sidewalks in front of their homes withing a reasonable amount of time.

Avoid the Hidden Cost

Shovel the sidewalks around your home. If you’re unable to shovel consider asking a neighbor or family member for help.

Space Heaters

We all know that space heaters use extra energy, which can raise your electric bill. If used improperly, though, they can cause much more serious problems.

How It Can Cost You

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 25,000 house fires are started by space heaters each year. If you’ve ever dealt with a house fire, you know how expensive and devastating it can be. If you’ve never dealt with a house fire, count your blessings and hoe you never have to.

Avoid the Hidden Cost

The easiest way to avoid the hidden costs of space heaters is to simply not use them. Dress in layers, always wear heavy socks, and do a little extra cuddling when the wicked winter weather starts howling outside. If you must use a space heater, choose one that has been tested and  certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. Only use the heater as directed, keep it away from furniture and curtains, and never leave it running when you’re asleep or away from home.


Not surprisingly, winter weather can wreak havoc on your vehicle. Vehicle problems can also wreak havoc on your wallet if you don’t take a few precautions.

How It Can Cost You

Icy roads are the first thing that comes to mind. Accidents are dangerous and expensive, as are tows. Improper winter maintenance can cause various parts of your vehicle to fail as well. (I hear that many of these parts are rather important too!) Another hidden cost you may not consider is having your vehicle stolen when you start it to warm it up.

Avoid the Hidden Cost

Before the winter weather really hits hard, give it a checkup. Change your oil, top off your coolant and antifreeze, and make sure the tires are in good shape and properly inflated. Keep bags of kitty litter and salt in your trunk in case you get stuck. If you must warm up your car, keep the doors locked to help prevent theft. And, of course, drive carefully!

Has this winter weather socked you with any hidden cost this year?