water damage during winter thaws

There are many tips available to help homeowners prevent water damage during winter thaws. After experiencing harsh winter temperatures for an extended period of time, winter thaws are typically welcomed by most homeowners. However, when temperatures increase rapidly and are accompanied by rain, water damage headaches can develop quickly, turning winter thaws into winter blahs.

Clear a Path for Water

Home and business owners should ensure that melting water and rain water will move away from the house, decreasing the chances of water damage during winter thaws. Snow banks should be removed from along the foundation, doors, and windows. Eaves troughs and downspouts should be cleared, providing a path away from the building. Indoors, floor drains should be clear of obstructions. If installed, sump pumps should be in good working order, back flow valves are also a great counter to sewer back-ups. If flooding is inevitable, move valuables and contents to higher levels if safe to do so.

Ice Dams

Ice dams are thick ridges of solid ice that build up along the eaves trough. This solid ice can damage gutters, loosen shingles, and eventually cause water to penetrate into the home causing extensive water damage during winter thaws and heavy rain. These dams are created when heat collects in the attic and warms the roof, except at the eaves. Snow melts on the warm roof and then freezes on the colder eaves. Ice accumulates along the eaves, forming a dam. Rain or meltwater from the warm roof backs up behind it, flows under the shingles, and unfortunately into the house. Once in the house, water can ruin a home, peeling paint, warped floors, damaged walls and ceilings, dampening insulation, and creating a risk of mould and mildew if gone unnoticed.

ice dam

Tips to Prevent Ice Dams

In most cases, ice dams are caused by the heat transferred to the attic from within the living area of a home. The problem is either inadequate insulation or poor ventilation of heat from the attic. If you are concerned, it is a good idea to have the attic inspected by a professional for heat leaks and proper circulation. (See https://www.strone.ca/5-tips-to-reduce-heat-loss-in-your-home/ for more information.)

Shingle condition should also be checked, with cracked, missing, or curled shingles being replaced. Proper drainage of the eaves trough should also be ensured, with regular inspections for blockages caused by maple keys, leaves, or any other obstruction.

If safe to do so after major snowstorms, remove snow from the edge of your roof with a roof rake. If unsure, consider hiring a contractor to do this for you.

Experiencing Water Damage?

If you are experiencing water damage, contact your insurance company immediately. Quick response is critical to mitigate the extent of damage caused to your home or business. The insurance company will typically recommend options or assign a restoration contractor like STRONE to your insurance claim (if covered).

For STRONE emergency response crews please call 1-866-877-5834.

Sources
This Old House – www.thisoldhouse.com
Insurance Bureau of Canada – www.ibc.ca
Grey Power – http://www.greypower.com
InsuranceHotline.com – www.insurancehotline.com

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