Thursday, March 19, 2015

Don't let the spring thaw leave you all wet!

An important message from CUMIS (UCU's Insurance partner)

Before the showers begin, here are some timely tips...

It's almost springtime and it's not uncommon to experience rapidly changing temperatures that can lead to melting and then flash-freezing. At CUMIS, we're putting people first by offering these property maintenance and safety tips for your consideration. Some may apply to you and some may not - but we're sure you'll find valuable tips and advice in this message.

Personal Safety:

  • Watch for falling snow and ice from roofs during the thaw.
  • Inspect roofs from the inside for leaks or structural deficiencies. Falls from roofs and possible exposure to electrical wires while on the roof are serious hazards.
  • Sand and/or salt icy areas around entrances.
  • Keep children and pets away from waterways. Due to spring runoff, water levels are higher than usual and the banks of small creeks and rivers may erode and collapse. Stay away from ice on any body of water - it rarely thaws evenly, and is likely very unstable.

Property Maintenance:

  • Regularly check for ice around the roof line; remove icicles and/or blocked areas where icicles may fall.
  • Clear areas around downspouts and exhaust vents so that water from melting snow has a path to flow away from the house or building. Direct the flow away from walkways and entrances.
  • Watch for signs of roof problems such as leaks, deflection of ceiling finishes or exposed beams.
  • If safe to do so, move snow at least 2-3 feet from the foundation of houses and buildings to minimize the possibility of seepage.
  • Check the drainage system (storm sewer) on your street. If it is blocked, report the condition to the authorities or if safe to do so, try to clear the area around the sewer entrance. If you live in a rural area, check culverts and other waterways and remove any blockages if it is safe to do so.
  • Make sure your sump pump is working properly. Consider installing a secondary backup pump in the event of a power failure. Make sure the batteries in your backup pump are fully charged.
  • If water enters your home as a result of ice backup, remove standing water as soon as it is safe to do so as mould contamination can appear within 24 hours - dry the area thoroughly and remove soaked building materials, including drywall and floor coverings.

Ice Damming:

  • Removing an ice dam can be quite dangerous. Never walk on a snow-covered roof. Make sure you work from a ladder and use a roof rake.
  • Do not use common ice melters such as salt, potassium calcium or magnesium chloride on a roof as they are highly corrosive to shingles, metal gutters, downspouts and flashings.
  • Consider having a professionally-licensed contractor remove all the snow and ice from the roof surface, overhangs, eaves and gutters.

If your property is insured with CUMIS and you sustain damage, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss coverage:

CUMIS Claims: 1-800-810-2847

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