Homeowners can anticipate possible water damage during heavy rainstorms. Savvy homeowners, however, are also vigilant during the season’s snowmelt. Snow that melts on the property can lead to a worrisome case of water damage—if the snow is improperly handled.
Snow creates a winter wonderland, but when it melts, it has the potential to lead to disastrous property water damage. Thirteen inches of snow is equivalent to one inch of rain. Over a 2800 square foot roof, the snow amounts to 1743 gallons of water, which can seep inside.
When snowfall accumulates to approximately one inch along the roof, pay attention to the roof. Temperatures that remain at 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below should prevent snowmelt along asphalt shingles. A functional roof will prevent snow from melting only in certain areas.
Rooftop snow that melts in specific spots along the roof means that either heat is escaping in those areas due to inadequate insulation or the roof is failing. Under optimal conditions, snowmelt should occur based on outside temperatures—not the temperatures inside the home.
How does snowmelt cause water damage?
- Ice Dams
A home with heat loss issues can undergo erratic snowmelt along the roof. When snow melts due to the home’s temperature rather than outside temperatures, the snowmelt will refreeze as it travels down the roof. Ice dams will appear as icicles along the rooftop eaves and gutters.
The ice dams trap water, which then seeps into areas between the rooftop shingles or under soffits. The moisture from the snowmelt will eventually leak into the interior parts of the home, especially spaces under the roof, and drip onto the walls and ceilings. The result is water damage.
Ice dams can cause further damage when they block the gutter. The ice formations in the gutter prevent the snowmelt from properly draining. Without a clear channel through the drains and downspouts, water from the snowmelt finds its way inside the home and appears as water damage.
- Inadequate Attic Insulation
Interior water damage can also occur when the attic is improperly insulated. Evidence of inadequate insulation will be apparent when snow melts unevenly along the roof. Patchy spots of melting snow on the roof suggests that parts of the attic trap heat while other areas allow heat to escape.
- Snowmelt Runoff
Partially melted snow can bypass the gutters and fall around the property’s foundation. Alternately, the snowmelt will run off the roof and drop directly onto the foundation, saturating the soil around it. During a cold spell, this moisture will refreeze and, during the next thaw, remelt.
The accumulation of large amounts of snowmelt around the foundation can become a water damage issue, especially if tiny cracks develop in the foundation. The water damage problem worsens when the landscaping fails to lead the snowmelt away from the foundation.
How do homeowners protect the property?
- Add Insulation
Snowmelt can become a major water damage crisis if ignored. However, homeowners can take steps to protect their property from the damaging effects of snowmelt. Add insulation to the attic to prevent heat escaping through the roof and leading to snowmelt and runoff along the foundation.
- Remove Rooftop Snow
A roof rake is essential for removing snow off the roof. A homeowner does not need to climb the roof to utilize the roof rake, since the tool can be used by standing on firm ground. Removing excess snow prevents the accumulation of snow and ice and eventual runoff.
- Clear the Gutters
Ensure the gutters and downspouts are free of blockages. Gutters and downspouts cleared of ice and debris are prepared to handle the snowmelt. Direct the snowmelt away from the home’s foundation by positioning the downspouts away from the foundation or with landscape grading.
- Remove Snow from the Foundation
Homeowners are advised to remove the snow accumulations around the foundation to a distance of four to six feet. When warmer temperatures arrive and snowmelt starts to occur, the ground around the foundation will be less saturated with moisture and less likely to lead to leaks or water damage.
- Seal Foundation Cracks
Snowmelt can enter inconspicuous areas around the foundation, refreeze, and cause larger cracks. Identify and seal even tiny cracks in the foundation, ideally prior to the winter season, so that the home remains protected from leaks and water damage due to snowmelt.
- Inspect the Roof
Homeowners who expect a winter that is colder than usual can protect the home from possible water damage by scheduling a professional roof inspection. A proactive approach will ensure small roof issues are identified and repaired before the snow, ice, and resulting snowmelt cause severe water damage.
Water damage is oftentimes unexpected, whether it arises due to snowmelt, a leaky foundation, a burst water pipe, or a malfunctioning appliance. No matter what caused the water damage to your home or business, you can rely on the water damage mitigation pros at ServiceMaster S&R Systems.
We are a local water damage restoration company with years of experience in the field, the latest water extraction and dehumidification equipment, and IICRC certified specialists who receive advanced training. Our cleanup services are fast and thorough, so you can return to daily life as soon as possible.
Property owners who choose ServiceMaster S&R Systems can expect comprehensive water damage restoration services. Our techs arrive promptly to assess the damage, remove standing water, dry the premises and affected goods, remove or prevent mold, and assist with insurance claims.
Our services include locating and repairing the water source that led to the water damage. We also partner with a network of trusted professionals to assist in the restoration, fix plumbing issues, repair foundation problems, and remove mold growth when necessary.
ServiceMaster S&R Systems is a leader in water damage cleanup. Water damage is an emergency situation, which is why our techs stand by 24 hours a day to respond to your call. We serve home and business owners in the Aurora, Naperville, & Joliet, Illinois, communities. Contact us to schedule reliable flood cleanup.