Snow melt

Prevent flooding caused by snow melt

Monday, March 31, 2014

What steps can property owners and managers take to prevent flooding caused by snow melt?

Ensuring that a property doesn’t succumb to flooding caused by snow melt after the epic winter we’ve all had is on everyone’s mind — home owners and apartment owners alike.

To start with, owners should remove snow from around the foundation, paying particular attention to the areas around window wells. Most properties drain along the outside edges, so it is important to remove snow from these areas.

Owners can also use sandbags to block water from entering low-lying areas beside their foundation. If water is getting close to the foundation, property owners should use an appropriate pump to drain it to the gutter or back lane. Owners should be sure to use all equipment properly and follow safety guidelines.

Though tempting, owners should avoid shovelling the access snow onto streets or lanes, which could block drains. If possible, they should identify the catch basins in the area and safely clear them by removing any snow, ice and debris.

Snow and ice should be cleared from around the bottom of the downspouts, and the downspouts should be extended at least two metres, so that water drains away from the foundation.

Roofs and eaves troughs should also be checked for excess snow. A roof rake may help to clear the snow and debris from the edge of a roof. Alternatively, owners can hire a professional to clear snow from their roofs.

Kevin Wong is the technical director of the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating.

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