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Melting Snow and Water Damage: How to Protect Your Plumbing

Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 10:33am

Winter plumbing problems aren’t exclusive to burst pipes. Melting snow can be the source of significant plumbing and water damage, and smart property owners can take steps now to limit the problems related to spring thaw. You can implement some easy plumbing problem prevention tactics to protect your home from damage. Start with the tips below:

  1. Shovel snow away from your home. Shoveling works your body and burns calories fast. You can take advantage of the fitness benefits of winter maintenance while safeguarding your home at the same time. It’s important to clear away big snow drifts instead of letting them melt on their own. If you leave them be, the piles of snow leaning against your home will melt and drain directly into your basement or crawl space. When this happens, it can damage the foundation, the walls and flooring of your basement, and the equipment and furnishings you keep in the lowest level of your home.
  2. Clear snow off the roof to avoid frozen vents. While you’re at it, take a look at the plumbing vents on your roof. These pipes are 3-4 inches in diameter and stick up no more than 12 inches from the rooftop. Your plumbing requires air to stay pressurized, so it’s essential to clear away drifts of snow and ice buildup. Frozen vents can result in gurgling pipes and low water pressure, not to mention the damage that occurs when melting snow flows down the vent and into your home.
  3. Get gutters ready for the big thaw. If you notice ice dams in your gutter or downspouting, do your best to safely shake them loose. Getting on the roof is an obvious hazard, however, a telescoping gutter cleaner can help break up blockages and remove chunks of ice. Just like clumps of leaves, these dams can cause melting water to flow over the edge of the gutter onto the roof or down the side of your house. Now is also a good time to make sure your downspouting is aimed at areas of your yard where melting water won’t run towards your foundation.
  4. Secure your sump pump and make way for the runoff. As snow and ice melt, the ground will saturate and water may rise up through your basement floor. Check your sump pump near springtime to make sure it’s working properly and is ready for the water coming its way. Also make sure the drain line is clear and that it leads to an appropriate location.

Winter melt can have a surprising impact on your plumbing system, but you don’t have to deal with it alone. Contact the licensed plumbers certified by Onondaga County to handle all of your emergencies. Contact Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Greater Syracuse today!

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