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Flood proofing your home


Changing your landscape can help prevent flooding
Changing your landscape can help prevent flooding

Andrea Stockton, staff writer

April 26, 2011 — When the seasons transition from winter to spring, the likelihood for more rain events increases. Homeowners should take the necessary precautions to avoid any basement leaks.

Severe thunderstorm in Hamilton, ON lead to this basement flood
Severe thunderstorm in Hamilton, ON lead to this basement flood

Heavy rain in the forecast is becoming more frequent as the spring season settles in.

And according to the 2011 Spring Outlook, most places could see above normal precipitation this year. That means there's the potential for more basement leaks throughout the season.

Lou Di Gironimo is the General Manager of Toronto Water. He says the best thing a homeowner can do to prevent a soggy basement, is to make yourself aware of the condition of your house.

“What we want homeowners to do is go around and inspect their basement walls, doors or windows. Check floors or foundations for any cracks where they may have noticed leaks coming in before.”

And for those who have installed flood proofing devices like sump pumps, it's always worth double checking that they are in proper working order.

Be sure to check for signs inside and outside of your home that could enable flooding
Be sure to check for signs inside and outside of your home that could enable flooding

There are also things you can do outside of your house to avoid any water seeping in.

“Make sure your eaves troughs are cleaned out and there's nothing blocking your downspout if it is disconnected. Check your window wells as well and make sure you don't have any leaks around your window wells,” warns Di Gironimo.

He adds you can even take it a step further and check out the catch basin near your home to make sure it's not blocked with debris.

When a steady storm system moves through, city crews are able to monitor the situation closely. It's usually when there's a heavy burst of rain in a short period of time that problems arise.

“It's like filling up the bathtub too quickly, it can't handle it then. But if you're filling it up slowly, you can continue to drain the system,” explains Di Gironimo.

Here is a list of things you can do to to flood proof your home:

  • Monitor the condition of your foundation.
  • Make sure downspouts are draining away from the basement and the house.
  • Look at changing your landscaping so that water is absorbed easily, but be sure to check with your local authorities prior to any landscape or grading changes.
  • Contact a licensed plumber or drain contractor for problems with draining.
  • Make sure flood insurance is up-to-date.

If you experience a flood in your home:

  • You can contact the city if the leak is from a floor drain and officials will determine what caused the back up of the system.
  • If the water is coming in from foundation cracks or window wells, call a contractor for steps to take on flood proofing your basement.

“Even if you start to see the floor drain gurgling or the water rise, take precaution before a storm event comes...It's always better to deal with the problem before you end up with a flooded basement,” says Di Gironimo.

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