Blog   Back

Basement flooding: Tips to protect your home during the spring thaw.

Spring and much-anticipated warmer temperatures, budding leaves, and blooming flowers are coming. But along with those delightful seasonal shifts comes the dreaded possibility of spring flooding.

How can you prepare to combat swift snowmelts and excessive rainfall that can lead to property damage — and a lot of headaches?

Basement flooding is already on the rise across Canada, resulting in billions of dollars of losses, according to a report by the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo. 

Why do basements flood?

“More often than not, basement flooding is a result of overland flooding, infiltration flooding or sewer backup, or a combination of two or all three of these types of flooding,” according to the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR)

If you have previously experienced basement flooding, live in a low-lying area, or live in an older home, then additional precautions should be taken. But any homeowner would be wise to beef up their spring thaw defences.

7 steps to prepare your defence

Call the pros: When you think of calling someone in, the dollar signs start to flash. But this is one area you don’t want to skimp on. Have a plumber inspect and maintain your drains, sump pumps and backflow prevention devices. If you don’t have a sump pump and pit along with backflow devices, strong consideration should be given to having these devices installed as soon as possible.

Backwater valves: Install a mainline backwater valve to protect basement plumbing, including the catch basin. Make sure your backwater valve is maintained and cleaned on a regular basis.

Sump pumps: Select the right sump pump for your home by ensuring the motor is large enough to support it. Your sump pump should have its own outlet and circuit breaker, as well as a battery backup in the event of a power failure. Consider installing a warning device to signal water build-up in your sump pit.

Take advantage of rebates: Before installing a backwater valve or sump pump, check with your municipality for incentives or rebates related to the installation of equipment used for flood prevention.

Landscape: Although this will need to be tackled well in advance (before snow falls), it can make a major difference to adjust the slope of your yard and direct water away from your home. Look at the shape of any flower beds and ensure they don’t allow water to pool up near the building. For some lawns and yards, this could be a major landscaping project. As an interim measure, consider the purchase of a submersible pump and hose to drain “low spots” near the foundation.

Get ahead in colder weather: In winter, move snow away from your home’s foundation as much as possible. But first, look up and consider hiring a professional to clear any excessive snow accumulation from the roof.

Spring into action: As the weather warms up, watch for pooling water, reconnect your sump pump hose and extend it away from the foundation. Outside, also reconnect all downspout extensions and ensure they’re free of leaves and other debris. In addition, you’ll want to ensure those downspouts are not connected to the weeping tile and are directed away from your home.

Talk to your broker

Aside from taking preventive measures, it’s also important to prepare for the worst-case scenario when it comes to your insurance coverage. Talk to your Advisor about what types of water damage are covered under your policy and what coverage limits may be available to you.


Exclusive Products