Local inspectors warn residents to clear ice before big melt

By Jessie Weisner
March 8, 2019 - 4:54pm Updated: March 8, 2019 - 7:28pm


MEDICINE HAT, AB -- It’s finally coming to the end of winter in Medicine Hat, but that means the big melt is coming. 

Huge amounts of ice and snow have piled up on the sides of local houses, posing a danger to foundation and basements.

“All that stuffs gonna melt back to potentially going in your basement,” says Clare Lindsay, owner and inspector for Pillar to Post Home Inspections. “Your carpets are gonna get wet, your walls are gonna get wet, moulds will probably start to form.”

Since February, Medicine Hat has been in a deep freeze, resulting in solid ice forming around the city. 

Lindsay says it’s likely going to get worse.

“What we’re going to be getting into in the next few weeks where we have a freeze thaw, freeze thaw process which creates more ice.”

Mackenzie Johnson, a Medicine Hat resident, has a large build up of ice in her backyard. It formed from the condensation coming out of her furnace exhaust.

“Whenever it gets cold and the furnace has to work hard there’s some condensation that has to come out of the exhaust and it just freezes and builds up on the outside,” says Johnson.

Johnson says she gets ice build up every year, but 2019 has been the worst. She is keeping an eye on the ice, and has a plan once it’s soft enough to crack up.

Lindsay says this is the right idea, because once that water seeps into the foundation, mould will likely form in your basement.

“You have to get it away from the home, plain and simple,” says Clint Molkelky, owner of On-sight Home Inspections.

There are other areas of the home to keep an eye on as well, such as ensuring you have clear gutters.

“The ice will, especially on the roof, it will pile up and then it starts going into your gutters then freezing, then it’ll thaw a little bit, then it will freeze a bit more and thaw a bit more and eventually your gutters fill up. Then you’ve got a frozen gutter that's got water flowing over top and running alongside your house.”

In addition, ensuring your homes downspouts are dumping water far from the side of your house.

“Make sure your drainage is good and your downspouts are all clean extended out away from your house,” says Lindsay. “That will take care of almost all of your problems with seepage.”

When it comes to looking in your basement to check for seepage, Lindsay says there are three main things to check for.

“To start with we look for water of course, staining on your carpets, wet carpets, staining on your drywall or baseboards. Some of the not so obvious signs are smell like sort of a musty sort of smell in the corner. One that not a lot of people look into is spider webs, because spiders go towards moisture to trap their victims,” says Lindsay. “So if you see a little nest of spiders in the corner or a little spider web in the corner there’s a good chance there’s been some seepage over the years in that corner.”

If there is any leaks or seepage, Lindsay says it’s best to act quickly.

“As soon as it gets into your basement clean it up as fast as you can,” says Lindsay. “If you wait for an insurance claim or a restoration company to come through you might already have a lot of mould forming and then the process gets very expensive.”

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