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How to Prevent Melting Snow From Damaging Your Home

Snow looks so picturesque on greeting cards, but when the thaw sets in and starts to melt, it can wreak havoc on your home. Large amounts of water can clog gutters, damage drainpipes if frozen or even saturate foundation material. That's why, to help protect your home from melting snow, you need to be proactive. Keep the following tips in mind:

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  • Maintain your roof. Have your roof inspected — and, if necessary, repaired — by a professional roofing contractor. That way, you can make sure there are no leaks that could result in water damage.
  • Clear away snow from around your home. Depending on where you live, snow storms and blizzards can quickly lead to the accumulation of several feet of snow on your property. When all that snow melts, water will inevitably seep into the construction materials of your home. For this reason, it's advisable to clear at least a foot around the sides of your home.
  • Use ice melt combined with sand to combat slick surfaces. Melted snow that freezes again results in dangerously slippery surfaces. You, your family or a guest can slip and fall. Ice on your driveway can even cause your vehicle to slide, which could result in property damage and injury. Since pure ice melt can cause the concrete in your walkways and driveway to crack, Consumer Reports recommends mixing ice melt with sand. If you have pets, choose ice melt that's proven not to hurt their paws.
  • Clear away snow from the roof. Once you've cleared sufficient space around your home and made sure the driveway and walkways aren't slippery, you can clear your roof. Stand on a sturdy ladder — it's best if someone holds it to keep it stable — and use a roof rake to remove the snow from the roof.
  • Make sure the gutters and downspouts are free of debris. All that melting snow has to run off your roof and away from your property. Check the gutters and downspouts, and if there's any buildup of dirt and debris, scoop it out and dispose of it appropriately. This can also help prevent ice dams from forming if the temperature drops again.
  • Clean the drains. Your downspouts should be positioned so they lead water to the drainage system. Clear the drains of any debris, so water won't pool in those areas.
  • Check that your sump pump is in good working order. When water levels are high after a thaw, your sump pump leads water away from your basement to prevent flooding. Refer to the manufacturer's manual to run a check on the device to see if it's in good working order. If it isn't, call a plumber to have it repaired as soon as possible.

By taking the time to minimize the risk of melting snow from damaging your property, you can protect your investment and help you and your family enjoy a safe, warm and comfortable home all winter long.

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