Protect Your Home Against Rapid Snow-Melt

Written by on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 7:35 AM in , , , , , . It has 0 Comments.

Protect Your Aome Against Rapid Snow-Melt

protect your home from snow meltHave you ever wanted something badly but, at the same time, worried about what might happen when you get it? It's a bit like that with snow-melt (unless you're a snowmobiler!)

The melt heralds the coming precious, warmer days of spring and summer. But the faster it happens, the more it risks damage to our homes.

This year, temperatures in New Brunswick are expected to be a couple of degrees above average. Rainfall might also be heavier in April and May. Together these could mean a powerful melt sooner than expected.

Just a few inches of snow can quickly turn into hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water around your home.

How Can I Protect My Home from Snow-melt Problems?

So, what can you do to reduce the risk of damage to your home during this much-awaited change in our climate and environment? Here's a brief rundown of ideas:

  • snow meltTune in to weather forecasts so you can time your clearing activities before any serious melt starts but after recent snow accumulations.
  • Clear away as much snow as you can from the perimeter of your home, including any drifts. Remove it from the roof, basement window wells and stairwells, and around foundations. Don't pile snow in a position where a melt will cause the very problems you're trying to avoid!
  • Take extra care with roof and ladder work. Surfaces will be slippery. Use a snow rake to remove roof snow, with your feet remaining firmly on the ladder if possible. If you're not confident about doing this, bring in a contractor to do the job.
  • While you're atop your ladder, ensure gutters, eavestroughs and downspouts are clear of blockages. Otherwise, the melt will overflow the gutters and, if it refreezes, cause ice dams and dangerous icicles.
  • Check tree overhangs. As snow on branches begins to melt, the additional weight and movement may stress them, causing them to snap and damage roofs. Remove the branches if you can or get a contractor to do it.
  • Ensure grading slopes away from the house. If decks and driveways slope down towards the house make sure they're cleared. Use sand bags, grading soil or other damming products to prevent fresh melt flowing back towards the house.
  • Fit an extension to your downspout so any subsequent melt is drained well away from the house. These extensions should add at least a couple of meters or more away from the building.
  • Check backflow prevention valves, ensuring they're fully operational. Clear the storm sewer, catch basin and other drainage areas.
  • In the basement, look for ground water inundation regularly and check normal operation of your sump pump, ensuring the discharge pipe is clear.
  • Also, in the basement, remove expensive and valuable items -- or, at the very least, have them well clear of the floor. Raising appliances off the floor might also be a wise move if you're in a potentially vulnerable area.
  • As foundations are the most vulnerable part of the house to snow-melt, regularly check them for mold, leaks, cracks, bowing and heaving. The sooner you spot any potential problems, the less it will cost to put them right.
  • Try to keep your attic or roof void fairly cool. Excess heat will speed up the melt but as it flows down towards the gutters it may refreeze. 

As an interesting aside, flood forecasters in New Brunswick announced recently a new technology to track snow loads and ice movement, hoping that, by gathering extra data, less damage will be caused from snow and ice-melt. As they say, watch this space!

Just in Case… Am I Insured Against Snow-melt Damage?

Despite your best efforts, it's always possible that your home might sustain some damage from the melt. In which case, you should make sure you're fully protected with insurance.

For most property and homeowners insurance, sewer backup is available.  In addition, with the recent introduction of overland water insurance in Canada, we can go much further in protecting you against water inundation from, for example, heavy rains and burst river banks.

Please speak to Pearson Insurance to make sure you're properly protected.  Call us today 506-432-1550!

If you do suffer from inundation or snow-melt and you're insured, speak to your insurance broker as soon as possible. Don't throw away anything that's been affected and take plenty of photos as proof of damage.

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