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Heavy accumulation of snow, drifts leading to roof and heating concerns


Heavy snow blanketing Manitoba this winter may be creating hazards around your home.

Roofing crews and Manitoba Hydro have been busy responding to numerous calls related to the snow.

At Tanis Leung’s Windsor Park home, crews were busy Monday clearing snow off the roof. Leung called for help before due to the heavy accumulation built up on top of the house to try to get ahead of any problems.

“It’s something that I think because of the snow we’ve got this winter that it needs to be done because if it doesn’t then it could be a lot more of a bill ahead with roof repairs,” Leung said.

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), snowfall values recorded by a volunteer in Charleswood show a total of 43.2 centimetres fell last month. That’s nearly double the 30-year average for January which is 23.7 centimetres.

Tyler Hoeppner, owner of Ace Roofing and Exteriors, said all that snow has been keeping him busy.

Hoeppner said this winter has been the busiest he’s experienced doing rooftop snow removal in the past decade. He said one of the biggest issues he’s seeing on people’s homes is plumbing stacks clogged with snow or ice.

“Plumbing stacks, when they freeze, you could experience sewage smells in your house,” Hoeppner said. “Your toilets could gurgle and not flush properly, so it’s very important to have the snow looked at on your roof.”

Hoeppner isn’t the only one having a busy season. Andrew Trudel, owner of Trudel Roofing, has also been hard at work clearing roofs this winter.

“It’s keeping us fairly busy and it seems like it’s not going to stop until the snow’s all gone,” Trudel said.

He said not dealing with excessive snow on your roof can lead to the formation of ice dams which can cause both exterior and interior damage.

"It all depends on the home,” Trudel said. “Some homes have lots of heat loss and ventilation issues. Warm air in the attic, it melts that snow and then the snow on the roof insulates it and you create a dam at the bottom that gets worse and worse and worse.”

“It’ll get to the point where it’ll penetrate through your roofing system or your soffit or near your fascia board.”

That can lead to water leaks that could damage your drywall, cause blistering paint and mould issues, Trudel said.

“It can really snowball into something bad,” he said.

Trudel said it’s better to deal with the problem sooner rather than later and before it warms up too much.

It’s not only your roof — Manitoba Hydro said snow and drifts blocking your gas meter should be cleared because blocked vents on the meter can create unsafe gas pressure in your home.

“During that cold spell we’ve endured — we had a lot of calls: no heat,” said Bruce Owen, a spokesperson for Manitoba Hydro. “And there was two reasons for that: snow covering the meter and snow blocking the vents off your furnace.”

Owen said to prevent problems with high efficiency furnaces it’s important to keep the fresh air intake and external vent outside your house clear of snow.

He said so far Hydro isn’t aware of any serious incidents as a result of blocked meters or vents but it has temporarily left some people without heat.

Owen said it’s important to carefully remove any snow from your gas meter by gently brushing it away with your hand or a broom. Top Stories

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