Spring May Be Here, But Winter's Water Damage May Just Be Starting

Posted on: 30 March 2015

As spring finally seems to be arriving on the East Coast, homeowners are breathing a sigh of relief. Record cold and snowfall have combined to make this one of the toughest winters in recent years. However, the headaches may not be over yet, as spring thaws bring potential for flooding--and with it claims for water damage to many homes:

Up on the roof: it's a bird, it's a plane, it's an ice dam?

Spring thaws increase the risk of water damage to a home in two ways. The first risk is from above, through a phenomenon called ice dams:

  1. Heat from the inside of your house moves up through your attic and melts snow at the top of your roof.

  2. This snow melts and flows down your roof to the bottom edges, where the temperature remains below freezing. The water refreezes and ice accumulates, forming an even larger mound of ice.

  3. Snow gets trapped inside your roof shingles, melts, and flows down inside your walls.

  4. This water soaks insulation and may begin to grow mold.

Even though you remove the ice dam from your roof, the damage may already be done--and because it is not readily apparent, you may not detect it for months or even years. Therefore, if you have noticed ice dams on your roof, call a professional water damage restoration company to check for damage so that you can address the situation right away.

Look out below!

The other risk of water damage to your home is much more readily apparent: flooding. As ice thaws quickly on warm spring days, the threat of flooding is not far behind. If your neighborhood's water drainage system is overwhelmed by flood waters, you just might end up standing in knee-deep water in your basement or living room.

This kind of flooding can take days to subside, and when it does it leaves behind ruined floors and walls--to say nothing of the possessions you may have lost.

Both ice dams and flooding cause water damage that requires the attention of a restoration professional. A water damage restoration company will

  • assess the damage to your home, using probes and infrared tools to check inside walls and under flooring
  • categorize the damage according to the type of water as clean source, contaminant, or grossly unsanitary
  • classify the damage on a 1-4 scale, with 3 indicating the greatest loss and 4 indicating a specialty drying situation

Depending on the type and extent of damage you have, you may need to stay with friends or family while the restoration is done. Your homeowner's insurance representative will help you file a claim, and if area flooding is declared a state or local emergency, federal funds may be released to assist you as well.

Although this has been a difficult winter for many people in this country by all accounts, summer does still appear as a dot out there on the weather horizon. Take a deep breath and hang on: it really will be here someday.