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The Coming Thaw and Your Home: What You Can Do To Prevent Damage

We have seen a hint of warm weather and rain over the last little while and that got us thinking, how can we help you get ready for all of the water that comes with the thaw? Spring is the perfect time to do a quick inspection of the house for many things, but especially ice damming hazards along with various flooding issues. From cracked foundations to clogged gutters to worn shingles, improperly maintained homes can lead to expensive repairs down the road. With the combination of snow melting and rain falling, spring is typically the wettest time of year. You can avoid the flooding issues in your home by following this spring maintenance checklist:

  • Shovel or remove snow from around your home’s foundation and move it where it will melt and drain away from the foundation.
  • Clear gutters and downspouts. Repair leaks and loose gutters. Ensure your downspouts are extended so they discharge rain or melt water at least two meters away from the foundation. Downspouts should not be connected to the sanitary sewer system inside your home.
  • Check to make sure your sump pump is working. If you don’t have a sump pump, consider installing one. Contact a plumber for assistance if required.
  • Check your basement regularly for signs of water.
  • Consider installing a mainline sewer backwater valve to protect against sewer backup if you don’t have one.
  • Make sure the land around your home slopes away from the foundation. Also, check that your sidewalks, patios, decks and driveway haven’t shifted to cause water to drain back towards your house.

 

Anatomy-of-an-ice-dam

Photo credit: www.icedamcompany.com

Ice Damming – The buildup of ice and water at the eaves of a sloped roof. Melting snow on the roof refreezes at the roof overhang, causing the damming. Buildings with inadequate attic insulation or ventilation or with large roof projections beyond the exterior walls are more pronto to ice damming.

If you have not yet taken steps to minimize the risk of ice dams on your home, here are some steps you can take:

  • Keep the roof cold by keeping the attic cold.
    • Install more insulation in the attic floor.
    • Seal bypasses into the attic.
    • Draw more outside air into attic through gable and eave vents.
  • Install slippery metal roofing along the eaves so that snow and ice slide off more easily.
  • Before installing new shingles, install an adhesive, waterproof, rubberized ice-shield membrane on the sheathing to seal around nail holes and protect the sheathing from backed-up water.
  • Switch to a warm-attic system. Make your attic part of the conditioned space of your house. This requires that you insulate the attic roof from both sides, insulate the exterior walls of the attic, and install energy-efficient attic windows.
  • Install electric roof de-icing cables to create a heated drain path that allows melt water to drain off the roof through the gutter and downspout system. Roof de-icing cables should be installed by an electrical contractor per the national electric code on a dedicated GFCI protected circuit.