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Flood Services Canada’s Guide to Flood Proofing Your House

Safety Tips for Spring Floods

According to some weather experts, our world is changing. Due to changes in our environment and other factors, rising sea levels, heavier and more frequent rainfalls, and the changes of the national landscape, homeowners are affected by an increasing risk of flood damage. Even if you live in an area you may believe to be safe, the unpredictable weather can bring storms that can seriously impact your home if you are not prepared. If you want to avoid a basement flood this winter, here are some tips for how to keep flood water out of your house.

Reconsider Your Landscaping

If you’re planning to renovate and upgrade your home, consider changing your landscaping to porous outdoor surfaces. This will help the water seep into the ground, instead of streaming toward your home. You can dig depressions or swales to channel the floodwater runoff away from your home’s foundation. Or, you can convert concrete or asphalt driveways into gravel or brick. For your garden and grassy areas, use an absorbent mulch to manage heavy rain and reduce the risk of flood damage. There are many ways you can change your landscape to prevent your home from flooding.

Elevate HVAC Equipment

HVAC equipment such as utilities, boilers, central heating, and air conditioning units are usually located in your basement—the lowest level of your home. This is the most vulnerable area to flood damage. A great way to prevent them from getting damaged if a flood should occur is to elevate them to higher ground.  It may not be possible to relocate them to another floor, but you can use building platforms to elevate the utilities off the ground if the flood risk is minimal. With your insurance agent and a contractor, you can get information and advice about how this project can be completed and how much it may cost.

Seal Openings

Flood-proofing your house is another step you can take right away. One of the reasons why basements flood is because water piles up around the foundation of your home, and seeps in through cracks into your basement. By sealing your structure, you can prevent water from seeping in. Some options to flood-proof your home include the following:

  • Install watertight shields for your windows and doors
  • Reinforce walls to withstand the pressures of floodwaters
  • Use sealants and membranes to reduce seepage of floodwaters through walls
  • Consider wet-proofing and allowing flood waters to enter uninhabited portions of your structure and flow back outside using flood vents, flood-resistant building materials, etc.

Get Flood Insurance

Depending on where you live, getting flood insurance is one of the best measures you can take. Almost all home insurance policies in Canada cover flood damage from burst pipes or broken appliances, while only some policies cover floods from sewage backups (you may need to purchase specific sewage backup coverage), which is why it’s important to find out the extent to which you are covered. Make sure your home insurance policy adequately insures you in the case of a flood and confirm whether there are any limitations or exclusions in your policy that might not be obvious.

Install Sewage Backstop

Cities that constantly deal with heavy rains and expensive stormwater flooding usually have municipal programs to fund backflow prevention valve installations and other devices that prevent these sewer mains from flooding homeowners’ basements. If your area does not provide this service, you should consider installing one of these devices with a licensed plumber or flood damage remediation service.

Elevate Outdoor Equipment

Even if the risk of flood water entering your home is minimal, you should still consider your property outdoors. Fuel tanks, air conditioning units, and generators should be raised above floor level and anchored down. If a flood should occur outside your home, free tanks can break free and cause damage. 

Take Last-Minute Measures

Some measures you can take if you realize the water is coming in quickly include the following. 

  • Clear gutters, drains and downspouts
  • Move furniture, rugs, electronics and valuables to upper floors, or raise them above ground floor
  • Shut off electricity at the breaker panel
  • Elevate major appliances onto concrete blocks if they’re in danger of being flooded

These measures can save your home from a flood! If you have time to do this ahead of winter, be sure to prioritize these safety measures.

Contact Flood Services Canada for Flooding Services

Flood-proofing your house may be expensive if you live in a high flood-risk area, but the cost of protecting your investment is far less than the cost you would need to pay to repair the damage of a flood. There are simple things you can do to keep water from draining into your home’s foundation, too! If you want expert advice and guidance on which measures you should take, our professional flood damage restoration company is here to help you. In addition, we provide emergency response solutions if there are any leaks, mould, or water damage in your home. We will take care of the problem, so that you can safely enjoy the holidays with your loved ones without worrying about a flood in your home.

Flood Services Canada provides water damage restoration in the Greater Toronto Area, along with many additional services. We’re ready to serve you! Contact us 24/7 at (416) 999-3930 for our rapid-response team.

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Chad Vanvari

Chad Vanvari has over 20 years of experience as a cleaning & restoration professional. He started out in Montreal, establishing a commercial carpet cleaning company in the early 1990’s. By 2001, Chad had relocated to Toronto and now had extensive knowledge and experience in responding to fire/water related emergencies. He has been instrumental in the cleanup of several catastrophic floods. Currently, Chad is the president and owner of Flood Services Canada, a 24/7 emergency service restoration company.

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