After a very snowy winter, which started early and saw a snowfall record set in January, thoughts of people across the region are now shifting from where to pile their snow to how to keep the water at bay once all that snow and ice melts. The impact seen just from a couple of warmer days and rain in recent weeks caused streets to turn to skating rinks due to insufficient drainage and saw water creeping towards and into some garages and homes. Save yourself the headache of dealing with flooding in and around your home with the spring melt and general flood prevention tips below.
Consider adjusting where your snow is piled.
While this should have been addressed long before the arrival of spring, with as much snow that has fallen in the region, many were left piling snow wherever they could even if not in the most ideal spots. If possible, begin moving snow and ice away from your foundation, windows and garage.
Dig a path to divert water.
It is extremely important to have water drain away from your home. If you have issues with water draining towards your home, dig a path through the snow and ice to encourage water to flow in the other direction. If water drains towards your home even when there are no snowbanks or built up ice which might be contributing to the issue, you may need to adjust your property grading and/or landscaping to help keep the water away from your home or stop the water that does drain towards your home.
Clear gutters and downspouts and extend downspout if possible.
Although many make a habit of cleaning their homes gutters and downspouts in the fall, there may be debris in them from over the winter months. To be sure there’s nothing obstructing the water flow, check that your gutters and downspouts are clean and clear of any obstructions. You should also consider extending your downspouts to have water fall further from the base of your home if possible.
Have your sump pump inspected annually (if you have one).
Have a licensed professional inspect your sump pump on an annual basis. This ensures that it is functioning properly and can handle the increase of water in the spring and summer months.
Should water find its way into your home, there are precautions you can take now within your home to protect your belongings and limit the amount of damage caused.
Protect your HVAC system.
If possible, have a professional elevate the furnace and hot water tank in your home off the floor if located in the basement so they are less likely to be damaged in the event of a flood.
Remove or relocate valuables from your basement.
Basements are vulnerable to flooding, so you should consider removing valuable items or important documents from your basement altogether, or placing them up off the floor on high shelving. This also applies to electronics which may be low to the floor or have cords that lay on the floor. While some floods can result in as little as a few millimeters of water, the more drastic floods can leave feet of water in your home.
While no one wishes to experience a flood, it is important for all to evaluate their situation going into the spring thaw to help reduce the likelihood of a flood occurring and to best prepare for limited damage or loss should your best efforts not keep the water out.