How the winter weather can affect your home, health, and car

WATCH:Mark McAllister talks to David Sugarman about the effects the extreme cold can have on your home and car.

TORONTO – The winter weather can provide great photo opportunities; the icicles hanging from building and the piles of snow covering the landscape. But the cold weather, snow, and ice can also severely damage your home and car.

The snow piling up and freezing on roofs not only adds weight but builds up in the gutters as well.

“As the snow melts, if your gutters or eavestroughs aren’t clear than the ice will creep up underneath the roof,” David Sugarman, a senior researcher for the Ontario Science Centre said. “Then, when it gets a bit warmer, it will melt and will travel along on ceilings and stuff and find a weak spot.”

Water can back up and leak into buildings if the ice isn’t cleared right away. Moisture build-up in the ceilings and walls can create mould and cause more problems.

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Roofing companies often provide services to safely clear away extra snow and ice during the winter months.

The deep freeze takes its toll on vehicles as well.

“It’s very important that you have a strong battery so hopefully at this point you’ve had your battery load tested,” mechanic Andre Feijoo said.

Common ways the winter weather can affect your car: 

  • Engine oil also begins to thicken depending on the viscosity and that makes it more difficult for the battery to turn when starting a car.
  • Tire pressure often fluctuates during the winter and even more so when the temperature rises and falls dramatically.
  • Road salt certainly can make conditions easier for driving but there’s a lot of wear and tear on vehicles as a result.

“In our climate and the amount of salt we use, you’ll end up with salt all over the entire body of the car which causes a lot of corrosion,” Feijoo said.

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But don’t expect your car to end up with even more damage if involved in a fender-bender however.

“It’s still metal so everything is made to work in extreme temperatures,” Feijoo said. “Your airbag system is still going to work. Everything is designed to work in the cold temperatures.”

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Sugarman warns of personal health risks aside from skin exposure.

“You want to make sure that you warm up enough because muscles tighten up when they’re cold and it could lead to some sprains,” he said.

Falling snow and ice from buildings are also of serious concern as the temperature rises and everything starts to melt.