After enduring a long winter filled with ice, snow, and sub-freezing temperatures, the first hint of spring weather is an exciting occurrence. People in areas with harsh winters are so happy about the first 50 degree day that they often overlook the problems that the first warm wave can cause. If there is any ice or snow left on the ground when the warmer weather arrives, it will quickly melt. This creates a situation that could lead to property damage because the water will not get absorbed well in the still partially frozen ground and flow right into your property.
We tend to think of snow in terms of inches, and not so much in terms of gallons when it melts into water. However, it is important to understand just how much water will result from the melting snow and ice. The Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) is a unit of measurement for the amount of water that the snow would form if it melted. The SWE is determined by multiplying the percentage of water in the snow with the number of inches of the snow accumulation. This means that 12 inches of snow in a contained area that is ten percent water will melt into 1.2 inches of water (12 x .10 = 1.2). When the weather warms up, you must consider this concept to determine how much snow melt you could be dealing with on your property.
There are several problems that can arise if the snow melt finds its way into your home. The absorption of water by the foundation of your home can result in cracking that will let in more water and eventually lead to structural issues. Other absorbent building materials such as wood, drywall, flooring, and insulation can succumb to major damage if they absorb too much water. Excess water in your home can also be dangerous as it creates the right conditions for mold growth and may even bring in harmful microorganisms or chemicals from outside.
It is very important that you take action this spring to prevent water damage in your home from melting snow and ice. These tips will help you effectively protect your home from the snow melt.
Shovel Snow near your Home
After a snowfall, homeowners shovel their sidewalks and driveways but little else. As the warmer weather approaches, it is important to shovel snow and ice that is near your home. If the snow and ice near your home is allowed to melt, it can cause water to pool in the soil and eventually penetrate your foundation or basement windows. It is recommended to clear a five foot area around the entire home. If you have a patio, deck, or driveway that slopes towards your home, it is best to completely clear snow and ice before it melts and flows towards your home.
Check and Clear your Gutters
When the snow and ice on your roof starts to melt, it is very important that your gutters are clear so the water can drain properly. Check your gutters and downspouts for blockages or debris and clear them immediately. If the gutters are blocked, the water may overflow and run down the side of the home, collecting near the foundation. Keeping your gutters and downspouts clear will ensure that the snow melt drains a safe distance from your home. You can help reduce the amount of snow melt on your roof by using a roof rake to remove some of the snow after a fresh snowfall.
Check your Sump Pump
When the snow melt builds up around your home, your sump pump is the best line of defense for preventing home flooding. This makes it extremely important for you to check your sump pump before the spring thaw to ensure it is working. Look for debris or ice buildup that could be blocking the drain and remove the blockage. Then unplug the sump pump and plug it back in to see if it kicks on. You can also test to see if the sump pump runs properly by pouring water in the tank. This should cause the sump pump to turn on and pump out the extra water. If your sump pump is not working properly, call a professional right away to help you replace it.
Rearrange Items and Appliances in the Basement
The threat of flooding in your basement during this time of year is high, but you can minimize the damage by rearranging the items in your basement. Do your best to elevate any items that could be damaged by water. If you keep dangerous materials such as chemicals, paint, or fuel in your basement, you should consider moving them somewhere else so they do not get mixed in with the flood water. You should also try to get appliances like washing machines and dryers off the floor because basement flooding can cause irreversible damage to your appliances.
Seal Cracks in the Foundation
As mentioned earlier, water from melting snow can get into your home through cracks in your foundation. It is important for you to thoroughly inspect your foundation for cracks and seal them with caulk or epoxy. Effectively sealing foundation cracks will prevent water from entering your basement through the foundation. You can buy the materials to seal your foundation cracks at a hardware store and it is easy for homeowners to fill the cracks themselves.
Now that the weather is warming up in the Fort Wayne, IN area, make sure you follow this guide to protect your home from flooding or water damage caused by the snow melt. The tips described above will greatly reduce the risk of water damage in your home, but they are not guaranteed to completely prevent flooding. If your property in the Fort Wayne, IN area experiences flooding or water damage due to the snow melt, contact ServiceMaster by Restoration Contractors immediately to provide water damage restoration. Our highly trained technicians will quickly remove standing water and excess moisture from the affected areas and materials to return your home to its original condition.