Water is the main source of many common issues that arise in a home. To keep water out of your Saskatchewan home, it is imperative to be diligent with preventative measures. We battle with frost, snow, rain, hail, and many temperature fluctuations that can be catalysts to disaster. Here are the top 6 ways to keep your home dry in Saskatchewan:
- Let’s start at the top with the roof. It’s a good idea to get up on your roof once a year to ensure there are no missing or damaged shingles (granule loss). Curling can indicate poor attic ventilation, improper installation, or that it’s time to replace them. Look out for moss or algae – these can act as a ‘sponge’ and hold water on your roof. You’ll also want to look for sagging in the roof-line (may be seen from ground level), and shrinking, cracked or damaged seals around venting and other roof components like skylights. Check flashings and gutters while you’re up there and ensure your gutters are clean of leaves and debris so that water can flow properly to the downspouts. Another common problem is a missing piece of downspout – you never want water dripping or falling directly onto your shingles from eaves or downspouts. Use a small piece and direct the water into the nearest eavestrough.
- Walk around and check your siding. Ensure there are no cracks, missing pieces, holes, rot, or warping. Check to see if the trim is properly installed so that there is no water sitting or infiltrating behind the siding. If your siding is installed all the way down to the soil, you’ll need to lower the soil level or remove the lowest portion of siding (depending on what type of siding is on your home). Hire a professional if your siding needs to be replaced or repaired.
- While you’re outside, check your windows. Ensure any basement windows are free and clear of ice, snow, or pooling water. If you have window wells, make sure they’re draining properly and that there’s no standing water. Check that all seals are clean and in tact, and that the panes are not broken. If there are any openings or cracks along the window frame on the interior or exterior, call a professional to evaluate and repair.
- Ground level is where most water damage occurs. Start with checking the exterior of your home for cracks and gaps in the sidewalk or driveway. Ensure that during the winter season, that any snow is removed around the perimeter of the home and that there are no ice formations. Extenders on downspout should be directed at least six feet away from the house, and should be free and clear of any debris like leaves or ice. Water should flow freely through both the gutters and downspouts. If you have weeping tile, drains in your window wells, and a sump pump, the spring melt would be a great time to test the sump pump to check and make sure it’s working properly. If you don’t have a sump pump, consider installing one if necessary. If you have cracks in your foundation, consider sealing them from both the exterior and interior (may involve excavation). If the cracks are horizontal, this could indicate a compromise in structural integrity and you may want to enlist the opinion of a structural engineer. Keep flower beds, gravel, trees, and other landscaping items that are prone to collecting water away from the foundation walls and consider re-grading so that the slope carries water and runoff away from the home. Ensure your outside water taps are not leaking – even a slow leak can cause big damage over time. Sprinklers and air conditioning units can be another cause of leaking into the home – be sure to watch and check in the summer time and blow out your sprinklers before it freezes every year.
- Head indoors and check each room. Make sure your taps and faucets in bathrooms and kitchens are secure and functioning properly (check toilet seals) and that there are no leaks in the pipes underneath, as well as any plumbed water to your refrigerator or dishwasher. Check laundry hook-ups and drainage. Head to the basement and check any exposed plumbing. Insulate piping as necessary, and check for corrosion. Check ceiling tiles (and ceilings on every level) for staining and make sure you get up into your attic to check for frost or moisture. Look at your furnace and water heater and make sure they aren’t leaking – call a professional plumber if they are.
- The last thing to check? Your back flow valve and cleanout(s). If you have a back flow valve, make sure all of the parts are moving freely, and clean any debris from the area (refer to your manufacturer instructions for cleaning). Schedule regular inspections to ensure proper function and don’t flush anything or put anything down the drain that interferes with proper draining. If your toilet, sink or shower are constantly backing up, you will want to call a professional to ‘snake’, or clean out the pipes. There may be tree roots or other debris built up that prevent proper draining. Always call a professional if you think your pipes are clogged.
To sum up the points above, schedule annually to check any components of your home that come into contact with water. Keep an eye out in the spring when the snow melts for infiltration into the home, and if you think you have a leak, or a blockage, call the appropriate professional (don’t forget to check your insurance coverage!).