Melting pains in Calgary due to record snow
Published Wednesday, March 21, 2018 3:48PM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 21, 2018 6:44PM MDT
A warm spell has finally descended on the City of Calgary and while the good weather is a blessing, it is still causing problems for some homeowners.
Amy Stalker, a condo owner, said she first noticed an issue with her unit approximately two weeks ago, when she noticed the drywall of her ceiling bulging around one of the heat registers.
“I put my hand on my loveseat that was beneath it and found out it was wet. Immediately, my heart sank because nobody wants water. It’s like the worst thing you can have is water.”
Now, Stalker says that there is a lot of work ahead for her unit, including cutting out a section of drywall and replacing the insulation inside.
She adds that she isn’t the only one that’s been affected by the issue.
“I know from the condo board’s notes that they’ve sent out that there are at least 30 of the upper units that are experiencing this problem.”
Chris Cymbal, project manager with Supply Install Services, says that Stalker’s situation is very common, especially with how much snow that’s fallen in the City of Calgary this winter.
“It’s been an exceptional year for snow for Calgary and with homes that aren’t particularly insulated well, that heat builds up in the attic and melts all that snow. When it gets to the overhang, it starts to freeze which causes that ice damming, then you get a huge buildup of ice.”
That ice damming can cause structural damage to homes as well, like at the home where Cymbal was working on Wednesday.
“We were doing James Hardy siding and before we started the job, the actual soffit and eaves trough collapsed due to overloading with ice due to ice damming.”
There are some things that residents can do to protect themselves, such as using tools to clear snow off the roofs of their homes themselves.
Cymbal says the best way to protect your home is to be aware.
“I’d say go out and have a look at your home. Go around the eaves. If you see a large buildup of ice, or even the ice coming down, that’s a real good sign that you’ve got ice damming. We’re getting calls where it’s actually dripping inside the house. By then, it’s almost too late.”
He also advises residents to have the attics of their homes inspected to make sure there is enough insulation to make sure that heat doesn’t build up and cause problems.
While there have been a few reports of roofs collapsing recent in Calgary and area, Cymbal says the incidents at Fairview Arena and a riding arena near Okotoks, mainly have to do with too much weight on the flat roofs of the buildings.
“Those were just not engineered to hold that weight and they’re just too old and should be looked at.”
Stalker says she isn’t worried about the snow collapsing the roof of her condo, adding that her board has been very proactive in dealing with the issue.
“The complex that I live in is very good and making sure that everything is safe. There are people on the roof at least once a year to look at everything. I am confident that I would never have a roof collapse but I don’t like the water.”
Calgary city council is also stepping up protections against roof-related issues, recently passing a motion to improve structural inspections of buildings in the city.
The proposal wants to add more extensive inspections, including interior checks on older buildings. Right now, only exterior inspections are required.
(With files from Alesia Fieldberg)