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January thaw doing damage on residential, commercial units around the city (video)

Disaster restoration company had 'a lot of manpower' throughout the Sault following January thaw
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Gary Potvin of ServiceMaster Restore says that his company, which specializes in insured disaster restoration in Sault Ste. Marie, has been busy throughout the morning Wednesday dealing with the January thaw that the city has been experiencing.

“Oh yeah, we’re busy,” Potvin said. “We’ve got quite a bit of manpower out there right now.”

“Some of them [service calls] will show up when they [pipes] freeze, but we get more that show up when it gets mild, and those frozen spots on the pipes,” he continued. "The water then starts to escape because they don’t have the ice blocking the hole in the pipe anymore.”

The rain - combined with the really mild weather, Potvin said, is causing a lot of water to run across roofs around the city, and If the roofs have had a lot of heat loss, they’ll have an ice dam on the eave. Water will back up under the shingles and through the ceilings and run down the walls, in some cases.

“The roofers are busy now probably with ice backup calls to remove snow and ice from people’s roofs,” said Potvin, noting that these issues are not uncommon in ‘the older parts of town.’

ServiceMaster has also been noticing many calls coming in Wednesday from the commercial sector, noting that some catch basins in parking lots that are frozen, as well as commercial roof drains that are frozen under the ground. Potvin said that with flat-roofed commercial establishments, water generally collects on the roof, runs into a drain, runs down a pipe into the floor. With some buildings, he said, the pipes run under the ground and into a catch basin in the parking lot. If either the pipe or catch basin is frozen, then the roof drain can’t drain and the water builds up on the roof. The pipe can potentially fill up with water and put pressure on the joints, causing them to leak.

“It can also cause an awful lot of water on the roof itself and possibly find its way in,” Potvin said.

Temperatures are forecast to plunge Wednesday evening, from a high of 6C all the way down to -14C overnight, which could actually help residential homes and businesses around the city.

“Well that’s just going to help us because it’ll slow all that down,” said Potvin. “It’ll stiffen everything up again.”