Kari's CornerSaskatoon News March 1, 2013

Tips to Homeowners For Preparing For Spring Melt

I am a homeowner in Saskatoon and I am concerned about the upcoming spring melt. I know that city crews are hoping for a slow snow melt and the City of Saskatoon is preparing for all of the snow to melt, but as a homeowner are you? I have some reminders and tips below to help prepare you.

It is said in a recent article in the Star Phoenix that snowfall in Saskatoon was about average this year but the mountain of snow on the street outside of my house in Willowgrove tells a different story. If we have a flash melt in our neighbourhood we are all in for an interesting spring.

I have already seen city crews removing snow from some of the key drainage ditches and storm channels in preparation for spring melt but are homeowners also doing what they need to do? I have a feeling on some of the future property condition disclosure statements on houses for sale in Saskatoon we may see reference to water intrusion in the spring of 2013.

One of the first things that you should ensure, in your neighbourhood, is that the storm drains/curbside drains are clear from debris…if you can even find them! That is the first issue, with all of the snow and ice on the streets it may be nearly impossible to find the gutters in the street so hopefully the owner who is closest to it and knows where it is will be out there ensuring the water can freely flow into it.

On your own home you may want to do some preventative things like shoveling snow away from your basement windows. . Water will find its way in any place it can so don’t invite a problem when you can prevent it by grabbing a shovel and moving it away. Also, whether you have weeping tile or a sump pump or not it is a good idea to move as much snow as you can away from your foundation.

Newer homes all have sump pumps but do you know if yours is in working order? I have had one motor burn out on me after 2 years so it is best practice to ensure your sump pump is actually going to work when we do get that melt. The first thing to ensure is that it is plugged in. I know that sounds a bit simple but it never ceases to amaze me to hear stories of someone unplugging their sump pump as they needed the outlet for a vacuum or some other thing and forgetting to plug it back in…insurance doesn’t cover absentmindedness! As a trusted realtor in Saskatoon with experience in home ownership I like to remind people of the importance of their sump pump.

Sump pumps are great to have but many people don’t have the discharge spouts extended far enough from their foundations so this means the water will just recycle back in and often cause the pump to burn out. The key is to get it extended and running away from your house. One way that I test my sump pump motor now is to pour water in from the top and the float will rise and kick the motor in. Gives me some peace of mind before things start melting.

I have never seen this before but this year I have seen it many times and that is people shovelling off their roofs. The snow on our roofs tends to be very heavy and when that starts melting some people, especially in older homes, are getting leaks into their attic. Be careful up there though or hire someone to do it for you.

So to recap:

Curbside drains/storm drains-make sure they are ready for the melt and clear of debris
Snow around your foundation-move it away especially if you don’t have weeping tile or a sump pump
Snow around your windows-get rid of it
Eavestroughs-ensure they are working correctly
Downspouts on your house-ensure they are extended at least 6-8 feet away from your house
Sump pumps-make sure they are working and discharging as far away from your foundation as possible

If you are thinking about buying a house for sale in Saskatoon but all of this sounds like too much stress, maybe you want to consider a condo as it is much easier living. Contact me for any of your Saskatoon real estate needs and I would be happy to help answer all questions about ownership.

Good luck!

Kari Calder
Saskatoon Real Estate Agent
Century 21 Fusion