Home Maintenance for Homeowners
Seasonal Home Maintenance for Homeowners
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As we are into Spring, we are seeing seasonal changes in the weather. Daytime temperatures are warmer, and snow is beginning to melt.
As outside temperatures increase, the problem of ice dams can occur on roofs with inadequate attic insulation.
While the outside temperature rises, heat enters the attic from within the house as the inadequate insulation allows heat into the attic space. This can also be from a poorly fitting attic hatch or heat escaping around a chimney. Another heat source can be exhaust fans which vent through soffits.
Attics must remain calm and below-freezing this time of year. Any heat rising from the house onto the sheathing transfers the heat to the roofing material. Melting snow and water then drains to the eves. The eves are not being heated from below so the water freezes causing an ice dam. Behind the ice dam, the water pools and flow under the shingles. If no roofing membrane is installed, therefore it’s just a matter of time before water can be found inside the attic.
Conclusions and Suggestions
Check in your attics for the depth of insulation in the range of 19-22 inches. Consider adding more loose fill, blown in cellulose insulation. Any shallow spots of insulation need to be filled. The insulation should be a consistent level. Check around chimneys and don’t forget the attic hatch.
Ontario is considered Zone 1 and Zone 2, and the recommended R-Value is between R60 to R80. The department of Energy says that the R-Values for Loose-fill Cellulose is 3.1 – 3.8 per inch. R-60: Good Insulation, between 19 and 22 inches.
Ice Dam Research Data
Ice dam research data cannot find one single factor common to all ice dam cases. However, there were some indications of potential causes for the forming of Ice Dams – Warmer Attics.
Sumps and Sump Pumps
Sump pumps and basement flooding is a home owners nightmare. With the correct set up and monitoring, you can confidently get through the spring run off without incident. As the spring advances and temperatures increase, the water table around your property rises. The movement of this water will be based on the soil structure and how well it drains. In some areas sump pumps will run 12 months of the year. While others might see some water movement in the spring then dry for the rest of the year.
The answer to a worry-free time is maintenance and preparation. Once a sump has slowed to a pace where you can take the pump out for a few hours, then this is the time to inspect and replace parts as needed.
Take the pump out of the sump and clean the inlets on the pump. In iron-rich areas, these become clogged over time.
Sump Pump Home Maintenance
The picture above shows a sump pump replaced in a heavy iron-rich area. Iron bacteria live in the soil and create a thick brown slimy deposit which, in time clogs up the pumps and makes the float switches unreliable. The second pump was a battery back up system which had totally stopped working. This could all been avoided if proper maintenance was carried out in a timely manner.
Standard Check Valve
Check Valves need to be replaced every 3-4 years as water can affect the rubber flap valve causing it to become stiff and brittle and then break off. These standard valves can be used with 1.1/4" or 1.1/2" ABS.
Battery Back Up Systems
Battery Backup Systems
There are many different systems available to the homeowner for protection from flooding. These systems consist of a secondary pump plumbed into the outlet pipework. Power is from a 12-volt battery, preferably a deep-cycle marine battery. The battery is on a constant trickle charge while power is available. Once the power goes off and the system float triggers the battery, water is removed from the sump. Depending on the battery size will determine the number of times the battery backup system will empty the sump and save your basement.