Weekend weather could cause roof, basement problems - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Weekend weather could cause roof, basement problems

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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) -

(01/10/14) - With tons of snow sitting on flat roofs, rain in the forecast and temperatures near 40 Saturday, there's the potential we could see roof collapses and major roof leaks developing.

With up to a half inch of rain possible Friday night and Saturday, it will only add more weight to roofs that are already under stress from all the snow.

Flat roofs are especially susceptible.

"We're in a prime situation for it. With the amount of snow we have, how heavy that is. I would strongly recommend at least getting sections of the roof cleared around the drains so the water has somewhere to go," said Mike Anson, of Goyette Mechanical.

The problem is the snow that's been collecting up on roofs hasn't had much of a chance to melt and run off, thanks to the subzero temperatures we've experienced.

And if it rains, it will only add to the strain.

If nothing is done, leaks could develop or the worst case scenario, portions of the roof could collapse.

Investigators say a roof collapse at a Saginaw Township store might be weather related. Police and fire crews found the problem when they were dispatched to the K-Mart at Gratiot and Center early Monday morning. Only one store employee was inside at the time. That employee was not hurt.

Owners of buildings with flat roofs may want to make sure the drains and roof sumps are as clear as possible because all that water will need somewhere to go.

"Without those, or if they're severely blocked, they're going to hold all that extra weight, you could potentially come up with some real problems there," Anson said.

All the melting and the weekend rain could also cause basements to flood, but with a little preparation you might be able to ward off trouble.

Mny mid-Michigan homes have basements and sump pumps, so before the snowpack ends up as foot-deep melt water in your home, take a few preventative steps to make sure your sump pump is ready.

"There's always a way you can test them. This particular style has an up and down float. You just reach in there and pull the float up, make sure the thing kicks on," Anson said.

If your pump has a back up, make sure that's in working order.

"I'd recommend those who've got a back up system always check those once a month too. There's nothing worse than having a back up system that doesn't back up," Anson said.

While some auxiliary sump pumps are battery powered, those who are connected to a municipal water system may want to try an alternative.

"They operate off of water pressure, so if you lose power, these are the best to have because they don't use electricity, they don't run on batteries," Anson said.

The check valve keeps discharged water from flowing back into the sump. If it fails, you could end up pumping the same water over and over.

"As soon as your pump shuts off, all that water's just going to come right back down the pipe. So that check valve is very important," Anson said.

Also, take a look at your downspouts to make sure they're clear of snow and ice.

"You definitely want to clear those out because the water's got to go somewhere," Anson said.

As a last thought, make sure your sump pump discharge pipe hasn't frozen up.

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