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Spring Thaw

springthawEach year, Michigan homeowners and businesses are hit with the harsh reality of winter, dealing with everything from snow covered roads and pot holes to slippery driveways and the dreaded NO SCHOOL Snow Days. You can’t change the weather, but we can minimize the toll it may take by implementing a few simple safeguards.  Heating and plumbing maintenance and the right insurance coverage, can help minimize any financial burdens that may follow seasonal storm damage.

This time of year, it is important to be aware of water damage that can be caused by Spring Thaw.  You can’t stop the water, but you can take measures to limit or prevent damage and save on restoration repairs.

Understand your insurance coverage

Read the details of your homeowner’s insurance coverage as it applies to water damage and flooding, because unless you carry flood insurance, any damage to your home caused by spring-thaw flooding is generally not covered. Many policies also don’t cover backed-up sewers unless you pay a higher premium specifically for this added coverage.

How to prevent water damage

No homeowner can prevent water damage under every circumstance, but you can prepare your home ahead of spring-thaw months to prevent common causes of damage.

  • Basement pumps. Install a sump pump or a sewer backflow value and keep a battery-operated backup in case of power failure. Consider installing a water alarm that warns when water is accumulating in your basement.
  • Basement storage. Keep valuable items out of your basement. Removing any electronics or stored valuables from your basement prior to spring-thaw warnings could prove to be an important ounce of prevention.
  • Debris removal. Remove debris from window wells, gutters and downspouts.
  • Doors and windows. Check for any leaks around doors and windows.
  • Exterior walls. Keep all exterior walls of your home well painted and sealed.
  • Flood drains. If you have flood drains, make sure they work properly.
  • Foundation cracks. Inspect your foundation for cracks that will allow water seepage and initiate repairs.
  • Grading. Inspect the grading around your home and make any changes. Design the grading to encourage the water to flow away from your home.
  • Landscaping. Trim trees and bushes away from your home and do not store wood or compost piles nearby.
  • Roof. Keep your roof in good repair. Unless a tree falls on your roof during a storm, most insurers expect you to maintain your roof to prevent water leaks caused by snow melting or torrential downpours.

Adapted from https://www.safetyinsurance.com

Ice Dam Dangers

Icicles – Winter can create some beautiful scenes…Biciclesright white snow, glistening frost on the trees.  Even the frozen pond perfect for hockey.  But icicles forming on the edges of your home should send up a warning flag.

Icicles hanging from the edges of your home are often the result of an ice dam formed when melting snow or ice flows down the roof and re-freezes.  That recent beautiful snowfall can become a homeowner nightmare.

There are many approaches to resolving this issue, some more effective than others.  Here are a few tips to get you through.

  • Attic Ventilation – Be sure you have adequate ventilation at the eaves and ridge.
  • Attic Insulation – Inspect and fix any missing or damaged insulation.
  • Use Ice & Water Shield when re-roofing.

The best long term way to avoid ice dam formation and roof ice dam leaks: good ventilation and good insulation!

Looking for more immediate measures or solutions?

  • Heat Tapes or Heat Cables – Tools like these will help melt channels in the existing ice.  It’s not a great permanent fix, but its usually a good step if you’re having an issue that may result in leaking into the structure.
  • Fix Air & Heat Leaks – Attics are cooler in the winter and a great time to look for missing or gaps in insulation.  Look for dark marks that may be caused by air flow.  Attending to these leaks can help prevent or resolve the exterior Ice Dams.
  • Lower The Temperature – We know what you’re thinking…”Turn down the heat? You must be joking.”  We’re not kidding.  Making the house too warm while having improper insulation sends more heat into the attic which means more melting snow until it hits the colder roof edge and freezes.
  • Remove the Ice – sounds simple right?  There are all sorts of ideas out there to remove the ice that may have already built up on the edge of your roof.  Which ever you choose, ALWAYS keep safety your first priority.

#icedam #HomeInspection