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Common Causes of Cottage Leaks, and Tips for Dealing With Them!

As winter ends and spring begins, so comes the warmer weather to thaw the frozen landscape in favour of the beginnings of seasonal greenery.

However, with all of that melting ice and snow, flooding can quickly become a problem for many property owners. This is especially true of cottage owners in places prone to heavy winter precipitation.

As much as cottage owners enjoy living life by the water, having it seep into the walls and floors is less than ideal. Here are some common causes and preventative measures to keep your cottage dry in the spring.

Identify the Source

If your cottage is currently dealing with a leak, one of the most important things to do is first identify its source.

Burst Pipes

During the cold weather of winter, water freezes and expands, which can cause a split or breakage in pipes. When the weather starts to warm up, and the ice melts, the full pressure of the returning water can lead to leakage issues through the split. If you suspect a burst pipe, be sure to shut off your water supply, as well as the power if you suspect there may be a chance at an electrical hazard.

Ice Dams

Ice dams are a very common source of leaks during winter. Ice dams are caused by melting snow on the roof, where it can drip down into the eaves. When the water freezes in the eaves, it can back up and form itself under shingles.

When the warmer weather arrives, and the ice within the shingles melt, the water can leak into the home.

You can help prevent ice dams by removing excess amounts of snow from the roof or by installing heating cables to prevent freezing.

Check the Windows and Doors

Gaps in the windows and doors are one of the most common reasons for a cold draft in the home during winter. It’s also one of the biggest reasons for leakage, as melting ice and snow can trickle in through the cracks and into our homes.

A great way to check for potential cracks and gaps is to light a candle or incense stick and bring it around the caulking of your windows and doors. If you see flickering or drawing of smoke towards an area, there might just be a leak!

It’s important to note that caulking does not adhere well during freezing temperatures, so waiting for slightly warmer conditions is recommended for re-application.

Plan Ahead

Ah, to have a crystal ball. Hindsight is the ultimate kicker when dealing with a flood, so the best way to avoid experiencing a flood in your cottage is to be proactive about your prevention.

While some cottage properties are all-season, like these houses for sale in Muskoka Ontario, others may shut down for the winter. If this is the case for you, be sure to drain all water lines using an air compressor and fill any drains and taps with a plumber’s antifreeze to help prevent burst pipes.

For those who live year-round, be diligent in the warmer months about keeping your eaves cleared, and caulking sealed to prevent unwanted surprises come next winter.

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