Nature often plays a cruel game with Calgarians in late winter and early spring, teasing the city with short spells of warmer weather only to give way to the freezing cold once again. This cycle usually repeats itself a few times before the mercury climbs above zero for good, creating some potentially tricky situations for homeowners, like ice dams and frost heave.
Watch Out for Ice Dams
As we await spring clean up time in Calgary, we also watch ice dams building. Ice dams occur when melting snow and ice get trapped in your eaves and refreeze, creating sizable ice buildups. When the temperature inches above freezing, these ice buildups melt again, sending moisture under the shingles of your roof. This can cause havoc in your house, leading to leaky ceilings, water damage and, in extreme cases, wood rot that can affect your home’s structural integrity.
Needless to say, ice dams are no fun for anyone. The good news is that a little prevention goes a long way.
Here’s how to avoid ice dams:
- Make sure your eaves aren’t blocked by leaves, twigs, branches and other debris that can build up over time
- Seal off any places where warm air from your home could seep into the attic; check around pipes, fans, hatches, chimneys and lighting structures
- If you’ve got soffit vents, make sure they’re unobstructed
- Ensure your attic has adequate ventilation
- Try to prevent snow from building up three to six feet from the edges of your roof
Problems Caused by Frost Heave
Frost heave is another problem you should be aware of. While most buildings are designed to account for the possibility of foundation issues that can be caused by frozen ground, it’s still a good idea to be in the know and take some preventative action to safeguard your property.
During the winter, the ground in Calgary will freeze to a depth of a few feet below the surface. As part of this process, moisture is drawn into frozen zones, where it turns to ice. This displaces the soil, making the ground literally move in its wake.
In most cases, the weight of a building, such as a house, is sufficient to stop frost heave in its tracks. However, if the soil is particularly moist, the frost heave can intensify. In extreme cases, frost heave can damage building foundations.
Chances are you don’t need to worry much about frost heave, as it’s standard practice to build foundations deep enough to resist the natural shifting action of frozen soil. If you’re concerned about it, there are two steps you can take:
- Replace soil with granulated filler that is easy to drain; this will prevent ice from building up in the first place
- Ensure your property has proper drainage characteristics
An experienced landscape company like Mirage Landscaping can help you create the right drainage characteristics if your property doesn’t already have them.
Spring Clean Up Calgary: Irrigation Dos and Don’ts
On the topic of irrigation, now is a good time to review some essential “dos and don’ts” for spring:
- Don’t activate your sprinkler system until you are certain that the “hard freeze” phase of the season is over
- Don’t turn on the mainline water supply valve to your irrigation system yourself; let a professional do it, since problems can occur during start-up after a long winter
- Don’t let water flood into the system at a high rate, especially after you’ve just turned it on; instead, ease the valve open and go incrementally
- Don’t leave the first irrigation session of the season to a timer; supervise it yourself, watch and listen for signs of problems, and deactivate the system immediately if something goes wrong
- Do call a professional if you need to add an irrigation system to your home
Spring Clean Up Calgary: Trust Our Professional Services
The hardworking pros at Mirage Landscaping can help you solve all your year-round property maintenance and landscaping needs. With spring clean-up season just around the corner, now is the time to book your visit with our team. Post-winter lawn care is essential if you want to have a healthy green lawn during the summer, and we provide a complete suite of services, including everything from power raking and debris removal to applying the season’s first layer of fertilizer.
Our affordable and reliable services are a major reason why we’ve become one of Calgary’s leading landscaping companies. Visit us online today to get a fast, free quote for all your property maintenance needs.