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What To Do About Snow

Posted by on Mar 12, 2015 in Inspector's Notes | 0 comments

Snow is unquestionably an annoyance for anyone responsible for keeping a home in operation. But some satisfaction may be derived from minimizing its impact.

The clearing of walks, steps, and driveways is usually the extent of concern for many. The HouseMaster, however, goes a step further by planning and providing for the subsequent drainage patterns as the accumulation melts.

Piling snow against the foundation, for example, is unwise even if the surface is graded properly away from the house. And if the basement leaks, it would be advisable to remove the snow from the area altogether.

Also, before using any calcium chloride or other melting agent on steps and driveways, thought should be given to whether the corrosive run-off will flow into areas of plantings, pet traffic or pools.

Salt, of course, can kill plants and pit concrete. The danger to pets is that it encrusts the paws and is licked off, leading to internal distress.

Any drains serving patio, driveway, swimming pool walkways or other outdoor areas should be dug clear and snow should not be piled anywhere on the property where it will block natural drainage paths.

The roof, if properly drained by gutters and leaders, should be left alone — except for removal of any ice build-up at the eaves (which can seep under shingles and into the home).

If the weight of the snow threatens the roof structure, professional help should be sought.

One advantage of the covering, if left intact, is that its duration and melting pattern will tell you how effectively your insulation is working. You may find the area just above a trapdoor or stair opening is a “hot spot” leaking energy. Or you may find the entire roof melted clear long before the snow disappears from neighboring roofs — in which case you need a complete new insulation job.