Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Losing Sleep...

As a home owner... you will have nightmares and lose sleep worrying about the biggest investment of your life... 

My dad actually asked me how I slept the first night in our house. My answer was "like a baby" because It had been a CRAZY and long day. He asked if I had any nightmares. I thought it was silly... but now, almost 6 months later, I know EXACTLY what he was getting at.

Nightmare #1

If you are going to have a leaky basement... it will be today or tomorrow.


Think of the weather the last few weeks.

COLD. Bitter cold.  This cold freezes the ground, and where we are (Ontario, Canada) this means the ground can be frozen to 4 feet deep.

Frozen ground does not absorb water. It lets the rain flow over it.

However, your nice toasty warm house (and its basement) heat up the ground a few feet around your house - So it thaws first once the weather gets nicer. This makes a very nice little, thawed area of ground that you mind as well call "the water holding area", all round your house.

Now, the temperature has warmed up. All the snow has melted VERY quickly, providing tons of water and saturating what little Unfrozen ground there was.

Now throw in a downpour. If the ground on your property isn't well graded (sloping away from your house)  You now have your house basically sitting in a bathtub of water. Even the smallest crack will start to allow water in.

So, Every morning, and evening, I look in my basement for signs of water. None yet.

Nightmare #2

Now, Throw in the wind. And the Cold/Hot/Cold/Hot weather we've been having.

This is the weather that kills roofs. 

Hot weather sets in. Water on your roof. Flash freeze. That water which is in the cracks between your shingles, which the wind may have driven up a bit under the shingles (perfectly normal) Is now freezing, and EXPANDING. This wears out your shingles. Even expanding between the gravel stuck to your shingles with tar. So the gravel comes off, your shingles lift a bit... and then the heavy wind comes.

So, Every Morning, I check the upstairs for a leak. Nothing crazy...  but I just glance at the ceilings in each room. Just in case. Nothing yet!

Nightmare #3

Things that go bump in the night.

Lately, with the wind, I've been hearing a quiet metallic screech while I lay in bed. I'm fairly sure its my rotary vent in the attic just squeaking a bit...

But what if its not? I did put in a new vent for the bathroom fan. What if I screwed it up? What if its a bird or other critter in my attic?

Whats made it worse is that the air purifier in our room started to smell "hot" so we've had it off for the last couple of days. The lack of white noise lets me hear EVERYTHING.

But yes, every time I hear a sound in the house, I think "I wonder what that is, and if its going to cost me money eventually..."

Worrying about all these things is perfectly natural - (I hope!)

The important thing is to prepare for it. In I.T., we have something called "DR" which is "disaster recovery"
Basically a plan of what do you need to do if Disaster strikes.
Odds are that none of the above will ever happen (Especially if you properly maintain your house!)

But... Because I'm weird, I made a mental plan for each "nightmare" scenario above.

If I found out for some reason my Attic was leaking, I'd get up there STAT and see if I could find where its coming from and put a bucket in the Attic to prevent further damage to my ceilings. (I keep a few Deck Boards in the attic for moving around) I'd call a roofer right away.

For the leaky basement, the second I see any water, I have a simple floating laminate floor. I'd disassemble and pull that away  from the leak, put down some towels and get my dehumidifier by there. I'd also (probably fruitlessly)  put some tarps down roughly where its leaking and slope them away from the house. Also, My eaves troughs drain into a tube in the ground. I'd pull those out, and instead of going into the ground, i'd run them away from the house via these little plastic "aqueduct" kind of things: (see right) 

As for that noise... I'll poke my head up there on a windy day when I can borrow the ladder from my Father in Law. Maybe with a bat... just in case my nightmares come true :-p

Sweet dreams all...

Note:  I've finished my Kitchen "shuffle" but my pre-written blog posts... are no longer valid - Lots of Unexpected items. I'll hopefully be able to re-write them this weekend to post up by Sunday.

Stay tuned!


  1. Howdy, Alex! I just can’t help but shook my head as I read your Nightmare #2. It is true that you can’t keep still when you think about your weather-damaged roof. But I’m glad that you’re doing your best to check it regularly. It can give you an idea if your roof needs replacement yet.

    Chantay Smithingell

    1. Thanks for the comment Chantay!

      I guess I should point out that those photos aren't of MY roof. mine isn't nearly as bad as that! Just a bit curling but I imagine it'll need replacing in the coming years!