Winter may seem like an unusual time for a flood, but it actually happens more than you would think. Flooding from melting snow can happen any time there is a quick temperature change. Most basement flooding during the winter is caused by melting snow, as a result of faulty gutters, cracks in foundations, and improper runoff.
We all know when snow melt it becomes water. Ten inches of snow will melt into an inch of water. If the snow is heavy it will produce more water when melted. A quick thaw of snow and ice can bring on a significant amount of water to the soil as well as a buildup around your property. If the water isn’t able to flow away form your properties foundation it can pool up and may eventually enter your home. Spring rain showers can make the situation worse, speeding up the melting snow while contributing more water.
Nowadays the worlds weather patterns have become increasingly unpredictable. We can experience heavy snow and freezing temperatures one day and warmer temperatures and rain the next. Check your basement for signs of flooding any time there is a significant change in temperature. Many people rarely step into there basements, to avoid damaging floods check your basements regularly and make sure your have a working sump pump and dehumidifier.
Although unlikely, a rapid thaw can result in snow flooding your basement or crawl space. This typically happens if there is a sudden change in temperature. Snow-melt flooding can damage flooring and walls, as well as furniture and personal items.
Water damage caused by snow melting typically happens during more gradual thaws but can result in the same amount of damage. If the water affecting the area is not removed and dried out, further damage can happen. This damage includes mold growth to the property.
Anytime there is a persistent source of water, there is a potential for mold. Although mold generally prefers warmer temperatures, it will thrive if the conditions are right. It is most common during slow, gradual thaws, but may develop after water damage or a flood as well.
Ice jams occur when ice on rivers and water ways starts to break up due to melting. They then can head downstream. These ice pieces can begin to build up and reduce the flow of the river. This can then cause flooding.
Water can pool up on low points on roadways and in under passes. If you see water over the road you need to slow down and go through it with caution. Your vehicles tires can lose traction and hydroplane.
Shovel snow away from your home, keeping it away from your foundation. Whenever possible, keep snow 5 feet away from your foundation.
If your home is on a hill make sure you shovel snow and deposit it away from your home. This ensures that melting snow flows away from instead of towards it.
Clear snow from your roof to prevent buildup and overflowing gutters.
Keep drainage areas around your home clear of snow and ice.
Inspect basement walls for cracks and check the caulking around windows, make repairs if necessary.
Check your roof for ice and snow build up. This can lead to ice damages that allow melting snow to enter through your roof.
Test your sump pump during the winter to ensure it works properly when the snow melts.
Never ignore water in your basement, investigate and repair ASAP.
Begin extracting the standing water as soon as possible. The faster you remove the water, the less damage it will cause.
Remove water damaged drywall and other materials. Moisture meters are used to check to see what areas are wet and may need to be removed. Water damaged porous items like fabric, papers etc may need to be discarded if they cannot be cleaned, due to the potential of mold growth.
Dry out your basement immediately after water and damage is removed. Professional grade equipment is needed to ensure faster and sufficient drying. Fans will need to be moved around when sections begin to dry. Dehumidifiers are also needed to remove the moisture from the air.
Once the area is completely dry, an antimicrobial needs to be used to prevent mold growth.
Before you begin rebuilding your basement, make sure the cause of the issue was fixed. Look for cracks in your foundation walls and floor. Hydraulic cement is used to fill in these cracks. However, if there is a foundation problem you will have to call a specialist to have it repaired.
Living in Upstate NY and Northern PA we get a lot of snow during the winter months. Within the last couple of years we have experienced bouts of warm weather a day of days after a large snow storm. This then creates a mass amount of water on the ground.
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