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Saskatoon’s freeze and thaw cycle causes damage for city and homeowners

Click to play video: 'Freeze and thaw cycle causing problems in Saskatoon' Freeze and thaw cycle causing problems in Saskatoon
WATCH ABOVE: While having much warmer temperatures is a relief for people living in Saskatoon, following a deep freeze it can cause problems with infrastructure. Water mains are vulnerable, and even your house. – Jan 16, 2017

A break from Saskatoon’s frigid temperatures can cause thousands of dollars in damage for homeowners who don’t properly maintain their houses.

Ice damming happens when snow melts on rooftops and re-freezes along the roof’s edge. The ice prevents proper drainage and traps water in homes.

READ MORE: SGI cautions homeowners following major increase in ice dam claims

“It could be anywhere from a few thousand dollars to upwards of $10,000 (to fix), depending on how much damage has been done already,” Go2Guys renovation manager Tyler Wilson said.

Ice damming’s culprit is typically a poorly insulated attic.

Wilson has seen icicles that extend from the rooftop and hangs all the way down to the ground.

“Ice dams have gotten so bad that they’re getting wet ceilings inside their house,” Wilson said.

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During a freeze-thaw cycle like Saskatoon is forecast to see over the next week, Wilson recommends ensuring downspouts are free of debris and are draining away from walkways.

Snow should be kept more than a metre away from the sides of a house, he said.

“If you get an excess amount of snow on your roof, it should be shovelled off just to keep (vents) clear because you need proper ventilation in your attic,” Wilson said.

READ MORE: Extreme cold in Saskatoon sees some flights cancelled and road crews kept busy

The rapid change in temperature also affected city crews around 9 p.m. CT on Sunday evening. A water main break in the 300-block of Duchess Street left two homes and two businesses without running water on Monday.

The cause of the Duchess break is most likely “frost penetrating into the ground and then causing ground movement or ground shift, which stresses the pipe and causes a break,” Russ Munro, the city’s director of water and waste stream, said.

Workers cleaned slush from the street allowing water to drain into storm sewers and to prepare for road work on Monday.

Homeowners who spot a water main break can call the city’s customer service line at 306-975-2476.

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