Although spring is one of the most beautiful times of the year in Canada, it does come with its problems. Rapidly thawing snow and ice soon give way to floods, especially when you don’t engage in thorough flood prevention. If you want to prevent flooding from melted snow, it’s necessary to adopt some tips. Fortunately, preventing flooding in your home is probably easier than you think.
This article outlines some tips and methods you can use in the Fall, Winter and Spring to prevent flooding in your home and also what you should do if a flood does occur.
Prevent flooding before winter begins
Although you can’t predict how much snow will fall or the rate at which it melts, you can use pre-winter flood prevention techniques to limit the damage. If you have a basement, winterizing it by filling cracks in the foundation and adding weather-protectant sealants around ground-level doors and windows are both essential activities.
Preventing flooding in your home before winter arrives should also involve the following steps:
- Clear all your gutters of leaves and debris to allow water to drain and flow freely. This stops ice from building up, which results in less springtime flooding.
- Make sure your basement flood trains are clear and not covered. You can also add water alarms that alert you to blockages.
- Ensure your sump pump is working so that ice doesn’t build during the winter.
- Install backflow drains in places such as toilets and sink to prevent sewage from making its way up and through your system in the event of a flood-related blockage.
Prevent flooding in the winter before the snow melts
When winter arrives, and snow is accumulating, you need to start taking affirmative action to strengthen your flood prevention techniques. Your first step should be to clear snow and ice from your roof before it has a chance to gather rapidly.
One area of your home that’s vulnerable to flooding is your basement. To reduce the risk of encountering severe damage, clear all snow that rests within five feet of the foundations. Alongside your pre-winter flood preparations, this goes a long way toward preventing mould in your house.
Finally, you should check flood risk maps periodically to identify whether your area is at risk. Although you should remove snow that’s building up anyway, using a flood risk map can make you move faster, especially when you’re aware that one is imminent.
Prevent flooding at the start of spring
Spring always arrives sooner or later than you expect, and when it does your risk of encountering a flood rises. Warmer weather soon causes ice to melt and once the ball is rolling it’s difficult to stop it. However, this doesn’t mean that preventing flooding from melted snow is impossible. You still have time to act.
Your first action should be to start shovelling snow as soon as it starts softening. You may find that doing this is easier than when it is frozen and set, as it’s more malleable. This makes the task less physically intensive.
Other ways of preventing flooding from melted snow include:
- Re-check your sump pump. Pour a small amount of water into the sump pit and observe it to see if it pumps away properly. If it doesn’t, you need to ask a professional to perform a repair.
- Re-check your downward moving sprouts to see if water can flow through them freely. Additionally, check for cracks that suggest weak areas are present. Once your snow melts and flows freely, those weak areas may break through entirely, resulting in your property flooding.
- When you do remove piles of snow, make sure you move them to an area with excellent drainage. Try to avoid moving snow to an area that’s close to your house. A five-foot-high pile of snow contains 1,300 gallons of water, which causes significant damage when left to melt.
Depending on how long the spring snow melting season lasts, you may find that your snow removal efforts are continuous. Consistently removing snow prevents damage, though, so it’s worth maintaining your commitment to keeping your property snow-free.
How to deal with the damage if a flood does occur
If a flood occurs despite your best efforts, you need to act fast to minimize damage. The first thing you should do is contact your insurance agent to see if you are covered. The type of water damage and water protection you have for your home will determine if you are covered or not.
One of the best ways to prevent mould in your house is to deal with any water that reaches your basement quickly. Ignore the temptation to let it remain there until the snow clears so that someone can remove it all in one go. Water that remains stagnant causes damage that becomes almost impossible to reverse, which means you may face expensive renovations and repairs as a result. When water enters your property, call on a professional to remove it immediately.
In addition to calling on someone to remove water from affected areas of your home, you should call a restoration company. Removing water may prevent damage from settling in quickly, but it doesn’t address ongoing damage as a result of damp that remains there. When you call a restoration company to prevent mould in your house, you ensure your property remains hygienic and safe for all who live there.
After the damp is gone, make sure you check affected areas periodically to look for signs of mould. Once mould settles into your basement, it can start to spread elsewhere. This means the areas of your home that don’t encounter damage are still susceptible to the effects of mould.
Finally, you should ask a team of professionals to identify potential weak spots around your property’s foundations. During their investigations, they may identify areas where water is likely to enter. They can also detect structural damage. Always act on their reports quickly, especially when it comes to your roof.
Overall, preventing flooding in your home depends on a combination of preparation techniques and constant vigilance during the spring melting period. Checking flood maps allows you to remain aware of upcoming events so that you can strengthen your flood protection systems accordingly. If you do experience a flood, always make sure you reach out to your insurance company sooner rather than later. Or better yet, discuss what kind of water protection you have and what your options are before a claim even happens.