Spring is upon us. Here in the north snow is melting and the sun grows stronger. People are getting excited for warmer weather and outdoor activities. Grills are being fired up more often and even a few diehards are venturing out on their motorcycles. Did you know this is one of the most vulnerable times for your home?
Warmer temperatures and more power from the sun causes snow and ice to melt by day and refreeze by night. The ground is still frozen and cannot absorb the runoff so it gathers in the lowest areas in puddles. Piles of snow and areas of ice block water from being able to run away from your foundation and lead to risk of moisture intrusion. Sump pump discharge lines can freeze preventing the pump from pumping water out of the sump well. Porous surfaces and cracks absorb moisture during the day. When they refreeze at night, the water expands, and those surfaces can become damaged. The first rains of the year come and flooding can occur since the frozen ground can’t absorb the water. Puddles form on driveways and walkways during the day then become dangerous patches of ice at night. Ice dams can form on your roof causing water to back up under the shingles and cause leaks and moisture damage.
So what are some of the things we can do to protect our homes from damage during the spring?
- Clear snow from the accessible lower portions of your roof. This will allow water to run off instead of getting trapped at the eaves and creating damaging ice dams. A roof rake is a safer alternative than walking the roof and using a shovel.
- If you have gutters, ensure downspouts and extensions are installed. Make sure extensions are long enough to allow water to run down and away from the foundation.
- If snow has banked up against the house or foundation pull or shovel the snow away so puddles do not form against the foundation when the snow melts.
- Check your sump pump. It may have been a few months since it has run. Lift the float to make sure the pump will kick in when the water level rises in the sump well.
- Check your sump pump discharge line. If it is above ground make sure it extends away from the foundation and is clear of ice so it can drain.
- Clear snow from driveways, walkways, decks and patios. You want these areas to thaw out and dry as soon as possible. If new spring snow arrives make sure you clear it right away to avoid the damage that can occur with thawing and refreezing.
- Inspect the outside of your home and the entire lot for any other damaged that may have occurred during the winter. You never know when snow or ice may have hidden something you were unaware of.
Just remember, water is not your home’s friend! Take precautions during this time of year and you will save yourself some money and headaches in the long run.