18 Mar 2019

It’s the time of year to think about some spring maintenance for your home.  With the cold weather slowly starting to fade away in Ottawa, it is a good idea to revisit the top priorities for your home in the spring months when the snow melting starts.  Melting snow poses unique challenges for your home’s envelope, your roof and the drainage around your property. Let’s take a look at some of the main areas to keep an eye on during the spring months to ensure your home stays dry, safe and properly functioning.

Should I shovel snow off my roof?

A large snow load on your roof may cause you some concern as a homeowner. If you are thinking about getting up on the roof to shovel some snow off, the National Research Council of Canada recommends to first look at signs of stress on the roof due to the weight of the snow. If there really is an excess of weight on the roof from the snow, you may notice unusual sounds from the roof, movement or sagging in the walls, or cracking drywall.

In addition, if you are experiencing a leak into your home, you may be eager to remove the snow to reduce the amount of water entering into your home. If this is the case, keep in mind getting up on your roof in the winter is dangerous and should be left to professionals. What you can do as a homeowner is purchase a telescoping roof rake that can be used to rake snow off the roof while you are standing safely on the ground.

Drainage around your home

Once the warm weather starts to arrive, all of that snow is going to melt and the water needs somewhere to go. Make sure your drain spouts are attached properly and extended enough so that water flows away from your home’s foundation, not towards it. Excess water pooling against your foundation is to be avoided at all costs during the spring melt as it can enter through cracks or put excess hydrostatic pressure on your home’s foundation as it amasses in the soil around the foundation.

Prior to the warm weather arriving, it is also a good idea to clear snow away from your basement windows and to ensure that window wells are not obstructed with sticks, leaves or debris so that any melting can drain through them properly.

Sump pump discharge lines

Ensure that your discharge pipe for the sump pump is clear from debris and any covering so that water can freely be pumped away from your home. With the amount of water that will be absorbed around your home and near the foundation in the spring melt, your sump pump may be very active and it is essential to ensure the water has a clear path away from the home through the discharge line.

Keep an eye on your basement

Basements are notorious for leakage and mold during the spring season if not properly maintained. If you have a finished basement, make sure to keep watch for any signs of staining on the drywall or near the windows that could indicate a leak. Also, make sure there are no musty smells or dampness in your basement as this may indicate water entry or mold.

For unfinished basements, there should be no pools of water on the ground or dripping on the walls, and the basement should always feel dry, not damp.