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Regional: How to Protect Your Home from Snow Melt Water Damage

As we slowly start to emerge from winter’s deep freeze in the coming weeks, make sure you’re prepared to act quickly in order to protect your home from water damage caused by melting snow.
In my years of experience as a real estate professional, I have witnessed the price homeowners have had to pay to repair the effects of severe weather on their homes. It doesn’t take a lot of snow to create water hazards, so be aware of the potential hazards, watch for the warning signs and follow a few important steps to avoid paying for costly repairs come spring:

- Dig snow out
of window wells and basement exterior stairwells, including drains in those spaces.
- Remove snow 1 - 2 feet away from outside doors, then dig a path for water to flow away—this is critical on rear decks.
- Know how and where flooding can occur and keep a vigilant watch. Flooding can occur when snow melts from the roof and in a deep snow, even siding and brick can leak.
- Water infiltration will show up either as a flooded basement, wet carpets—usually near doors—or water stains on the ceilings, usually below the door areas. But the real damage can hide for months, with the possibility of the plywood subfloors swelling, or worse, the growth of harmful molds.
- Like doors and windows, roof shingles are designed to shed water and an ice dam at the gutter can cause water to back up and get under the shingles. Roof leaks caused by ice dams first show up as water stains on the ceilings and walls of the rooms. If you see water stains or wet areas, contact a roofing specialist who will climb a ladder and break up the blockage or ice dam, usually near the gutter areas, to minimize the leaking.
- Keep your outside condenser unit ice-free so it can breathe and heat your home properly.
- Shovel a place for gutters to drain to when they thaw out
- Dig drainage ditches in the snow for water to drain away from your home
- Avoid throwing salt-based ice melt on concrete driveways, walks and porches, as salt can damage the finish of the concrete.

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