Spring is here in Manitoba! The weather is nice and warm and we are looking forward to getting out in our yards and neighborhoods for as many activities as possible after our winter hibernation. Some things to consider when the weather turns from winter to spring, especially in Manitoba, are maintenance items around your home.
I know, I know we finally get some nice weather and here I am telling you that you should get the work gloves out and start laborious jobs on your home. But the truth is now is the perfect time to figure out what sort of maintenance jobs your home may need moving into spring and summer rains.
Right now the ground is still mostly frozen and even though it looks nice and soft at the top deeper down there is still plenty of frost. This can make for a problematic scenario for some people. Luckily this past winter came with minimal snow and a pretty gradual snow melt. However if we have a large rain many people could see issues with water affecting their homes.
The place to start the ground! Take a walk around your home, seems easy enough but how close do you really look at every side of your home? There will be plenty of things that look different around your home now that the snow has come and gone.
On the ground level walk around the foundation and check for areas of damaged siding or low spots in the ground around the foundation. Every home should have a positive grade. Meaning the ground should be highest right up against the home, then it should slope away to provide water with a runoff solution that moves away from your home. Also you should assess the type of material that is surrounding your home. Rock and stone is one of the worst options for positive grading. The stones and rock have tons of pores and spaces between them that allow water to easily filter through and go into the ground and foundation. The best materials to use are ones that have limited space between the particles or those that hold water, topsoils and clays are the best and are readily available in Manitoba. It may require some elbow grease to get the grading correct but it is essential to keeping your home dry, even a new foundation with enough water stress could allow seeping.
Check window wells, if your home has them. Clean them out and make sure that they are not filled with leaves and other debris that can stop water from trickling through the stone and into your weeping tile as they should.
Check your downspouts. Has there been any damage from ice/snow over the winter? How far do they extend past your foundation? Ideally you want your downspouts to discharge a minimum of 6-8 feet from your foundation walls, if you can do further then great!
Check for any damage to doors and windows including weather strip seals and the corners to ensure that your house is not allowing a draft through. This is especially important in older homes that may go through some natural shifting as the seasons change.
If you have a ladder and are comfortable going on the roof then check the shingles to see if there is any damage from wind, snow or ice since the fall. Make sure the eavestroughs are not pulling away from the house anywhere from snow/ice weight. Check the areas around chimneys and flashings to make sure that they are still watertight, as these areas typically are failure points for letting water into your home.
Inside the home, one of the best things to do it to check and see if your sump pump is working. You may need to check the exterior pipe and make sure that it is not frozen, as we are still getting below zero temperatures in the night. If the pipe freezes and your sump pump still tries to pump water through it you can burn out your pump motor and you could also have an issue with pressure breaks in the pipe. Ensure that you put your sump pump hose out on the exterior and extend it as far from your foundation wall as possible. Also make sure the pump is plugged in and that the breaker is on in the electrical panel.
If you do have an older home and you do get water in the basement this is also a great time of year to assess the situation and determine the best plan of action to manage or fix the problem.
9 times out of 10 the solution starts with keeping water away from your foundation. And remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Tel: (204) 226-1261