What Can You Do To Reduce Water Damage During A Flood?
According to the Canadian government, nearly two million households are in areas that are at very high risk of flooding. Floods are common in Canada due to the rapid melting of thick snow packs, ice jams, and heavy rainfall. Researchers believe that Canada is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet, increasing risks further.
The costs of flooding are considerable. Data from the Insurance Bureau of Canada suggests that the cost of repairing the average flooded basement is in excess of $43,000.
Because of this, more homeowners are exploring what they can do to reduce water damage before and during floods to minimize the cost of clean-up afterward. Here’s what you need to know:
Keep A Stock Of Sandbags
Keeping a stock of sandbags nearby can be helpful in high flood risk areas.
Authorities will usually issue warnings if floods are imminent. These give you sufficient time to place your sandbags in areas most likely to face inundation.
Place them next to doors, windows, and other high-risk points of ingress.
Install Flood Skirts
Attaching flood skirts and barriers to your windows and doors, and around air bricks, is another strategy to prevent flood water from entering your home. When flood skirts become engorged with water, the weight of the water pushes against openings, forming a tight seal that prevents ingress.
Flood barriers are portable metal barriers that are quick to set up. They feature a graded flood-facing side and strong rear supports to hold them in position when floodwaters exert high pressure.
Move Furniture, And Furnishings To Higher Ground
Even with the best flood mitigation strategies, water ingress is challenging to prevent. Flood prevention systems have to work flawlessly. Even the slightest hole can cause water to pour in uncontrollably.
Therefore, if you live in a low-lying area, it’s a good idea to move your furniture and fittings on your first floor to higher ground. Possible options include storing it on the second floor or shipping it to a third-party storage facility.
Fix Your Roof
While flooding typically affects the ground floor, heavy rainstorms can also highlight weaknesses in your roofing. Water is prone to leaking between gaps in your tiles or soaked asphalt shingles.
Cheaper roofs may only last 15 to 25 years before requiring replacement. Eventually, waterproofing materials that sit underneath tiles and shingles can fail, causing water to leak into your home, and leading to mold and damage to your masonry. Therefore, whether there are storms predicted in your neighborhood or not, it’s a good idea to get experts to assess your roof and fix any problems ahead of time.
Check For Cracks In Your Foundation
Cracks in your foundations are also cause for concern. During flooding, water can pour into your basement and then erupt through the floor if not properly sealed.
Make checking for foundation cracks a part of your home annual maintenance checklist to reduce water damage restoration costs. Look for signs of damage in mortar caulked areas and foundation seals.
Clean Out Your Downspouts And Gutters
Blocked downspouts and gutters dramatically increase the risk of local flooding. Water can infiltrate your masonry and foundations, weakening them and causing mold to develop.
Check your gutters and downspouts at least once per year for blockages, particularly after the fall and if trees overhang your property. If you don’t want to do this yourself, you can hire a handyman service. Professionals use leaf blowers and high-pressure hoses to clean out difficult-to-reach areas.
Clear Debris From Drains And Ditches
During a flood, drains and ditches need to be able to transport water quickly to rivers and the ocean. However, if leaves or other debris are in the way, water will back up, causing transitory flooding.
Therefore, homeowners and businesses should remove as much debris as possible from their premises. Pay careful attention to piles of leaves or mulch that could wash into a storm drain or ditch during a storm and cause a blockage. Either remove them from your property entirely or place them in a secure container, such as a compost bin.
Install A Flood Detection System
Many victims of flooding only have minutes to prepare, particularly if it occurs because of a blocked drain, burst dam, or failed flood defense system.
Fortunately, flood detection systems are now available. These use sensors to tell you when a flood is imminent so you can react quickly. Most systems link to your smart home or business security system, allowing you to monitor your floor risk remotely.
Improve The Grading And Drainage Around Your Property
While most flooding in Canada occurs in low-lying areas, some takes place in regions that are not on flood plains. Therefore, property owners on higher land may be able to reduce flood risk by improving grading and drainage around their properties.
Increasing the slope away from your home’s foundations can improve water run-off, preventing basement and first-floor ingress. And adding drainage to areas at risk of pooling water improves water removal efficiency and prevents overspills from causing damage.
Test Your Sump Pump
Sump pumps remove water from areas of your property at high risk of flooding. They can be extremely effective in flash floods, particularly when you can pump water to land lower down.
Test your sump pump regularly to make sure that it’s working properly, especially if you use it infrequently. Also consider combining it with a backup generator or battery, just in case there power outages accompany future flooding.
Remove Snow From Your Foundations
Lastly, remove snow from your foundations. Rapidly melting snow is a significant flood risk, particularly if it is close by.
As a general rule, move one inch of snow per foot from your property. For example, if you have three feet of snow, move it three inches from your foundations, preferably to ground sloping away from your home.