Snow is great. Not only does it make for fun sledding and skiing, but adds much-needed moisture to the earth. But too much of a good thing can really put a damper on things. Take snow, for example. If a lot of snow falls in one area during the winter, and then the warm, spring sun comes out to visit, there will be a lot of melting snow with nowhere to go. The ground is still hard, so there’s only so much it can absorb. And how does water travel on earth? By way of least resistance. Meaning, your basement is a prime target for flooding snow water.
Speaking of fun, this is exactly what happened to residents in Box Elder County in Northern Utah. Damages are now in the millions of dollars, and volunteers “filled tens of thousands of sandbags,” according to a KUTV article. The National Guard is also helping in relief efforts.
There a few things you can do today to protect your home from melting snow. The following steps are from Liberty Mutual, because if your house floods, they have to pay up (and they don’t want that), so you know it’s legit.
Remove Snow Around Your Home
This might seem a bit obvious, but it’s vital if you don’t plan on having a new swimming pool in your basement. Melting snow (i.e. water) can seep in through doors, windows, and even the foundation. But don’t just focus on the snow right next to your house; take note of the terrain of the surrounding area. Even subtle slopes that lead towards your home will direct the melting snow water in that direction – and that’s what we’re trying to avoid.
Clear Your Roof and Gutters
Be careful with this one, since ladders and other methods of getting to your roof can be dangerous, especially when it’s wet outside (i.e. snow on your boots). Also, you may consider hiring someone to do it for you (better them fall than you, right?). Now that we’ve finished with the disclaimer, here’s what you should do.
Remove the snow from your roof to ensure minimal amount of run-off. Also, make sure your gutters and drain spouts are clear so what water does drain from your roof is redirected away from your home. Liberty mutual even suggests installing a sloped leader to your downspouts, so the water that does come through will travel even further away from your home.
Clear Drainage Areas
If your gutters and downspouts are free-flowing but the area where the water drains into is clogged up, you’re still going to be in trouble. Clear out all areas where the water should be draining, be it storm drains, catch basins, or even the gutters on the street. This will help the water go where it’s supposed to go (i.e. not into your house).
Spring is just around the corner, and for that, we can truly rejoice. And while you wait with bated breath for the summery sunshine and beautiful blossoms, why not take a little bit of time to prepare your home and surrounding area for the inevitable melt that will occur shortly. After all, it’s better to do a little work now than have a flooded home.
Written by Steven M.