Spring is just around the corner, which means melting snow...LOTS of melting snow. Our landscape resembles more of a winter wonderland than a place where the Easter Bunny will soon be hiding his eggs (snowballs, maybe).
Then there is the ever-present potential for a good ol' fashioned Chinook that can melt more than a foot of snow in one day.
The point here being, that we in the Foothills are headed for the great thaw of spring. While we all eagerly anticipate its balmy arrival, us home owners know that it's time to prepare our properties for the seasonal change.
Here are 5 tips to protecting your home from this year's late snow melt:
1. Maintain Your Properties Swales
A common feature fronting homes and neighborhoods in the Okotoks area are swales. Swales, the manmade kind, are designed and dug concave into the landscape running in front of residential areas to manage water runoff. During a snow thaw they are instrumental in protecting your property. Both grass and concrete swales are a common site in the Foothills region and according to our local Storm Drainage Bylaw 18-13, property owners are responsible for their upkeep. Visit the Town of Okotoks website here for detailed information about what you as a homeowner need to know about swale maintenance.
2. Remove Snow Away from the Base of Your Home
As the snow begins to melt you want to prevent the slightest potential for leakage into the base and basement of your home. This is an easy enough task to accomplish by simply shoveling the snow away from the base of your house, removing it to the middle of the lawn so that when it melts it does so naturally into the ground.
3. Seal the Slightest of Cracks
After clearing snow from the base you will want to inspect the bottom radius of your house to check for the smallest of cracks, fissures, and fractures. Pay extra special attention to window wells and outdoor entry points to the basement. Promptly seal these zones to prevent any melt that may find its way to the base of your home during the thaw.
4. Maintain Your Pathways
We all know that for the safety of anyone stepping foot on your property that we are to ensure all pathways to and from the home are kept clear of snow. However some homeowners forget about their maintenance when the snow begins to melt away. While the snow may no longer be a slippery hazard the water run-off is.
During a warm day that water collects inconspicuously onto the concrete without notice. However as nightfall arrives the slightest bit of water remaining on the less porous portions of concrete will cause ice to form through the early AM freeze, making for a slippery surface in the dawn and early day. Be sure to protect everyone entering your property by salting these pathways well until the snow, and melt, has left the premises (and don't forget to make it safe for pet paws).
5. Raise Your Roof from the Threat of Snow Melt
Clear the gutters surrounding the roof of your home to prevent ice dams from forming. Ice dams are created when the melting snow from your roof drips into gutters that become "backed up" from ice and frozen debris. The ice dams don't allow the melt to run its course, instead it finds its way through the roof's shingles and into the attic. By simply ensuring your gutters are free you can easily avoid this issue. If there is still a fair amount of snow accumulation on your roof you may want to consider having it professionally removed. The sight of icicles hanging off eaves on houses all over Okotoks this week is a sure sign of water frozen in gutters. Keep a close eye on this and get that water moving as quickly as possible!
By following the five tips above you free your mind and property from any concern, allowing you to enjoy what the thaw really means - the arrival of spring!