Water damage is not a matter of degrees. Once water reaches the level of your floor, you will likely begin suffering damage from it. Since even a house on stilts can suffer pipe leaks or backups, adequate drainage is your main defense against a flooded property. It is in your best interest to make sure your property’s drainage is up to scratch, so here are some tips on how to do a flood prevention checkup.
Determine How Water Flows Around Your Property
The “grade” or “slope” is the angle of the ground and how it directs water away from (or towards) the house. Checking the effectiveness of your grade is a relatively simple matter since all it requires is watching how and where the water flows during a rainstorm. Make a note of how it flows and, perhaps more importantly, where it accumulates. An ideal grade will send water flowing towards the street where it can enter a storm drain.
If you find that your property’s grade isn’t to your liking, or that water accumulates on your property, there are a few options available. Lengthening the downspouts on your home can deposit water further away where the grade may be more favourable. Alternatively (or in concert), splash pads or lot grading can be used to improve the slope.
Assess Your Walls and Foundation
Over time, cracks will inevitably develop in your walls, foundation, and window wells. This is a result of natural age and exposure to the elements. It is highly advisable to find and seal any such cracks, as they provide avenues for water to infiltrate your home. Even if the crack does not fully penetrate the area, it still provides a way for water to become trapped and start wearing away.
If you make use of weeping tiles on your property or other concrete features, be sure to check them for any cracks as well. Such openings should be repaired or the tile replaced as needed.
Check Valves, Pumps, and Drains
A sewage backup is a common cause of home flooding. Making sure your home’s valves work properly is a basic but important step in seeing how vulnerable you are to a sewage backup. If you don’t have them already, consider getting backflow valves installed. These will allow water to flow out but are sealed against water flowing back in and are a useful protective measure.
If you have a sump pump, make sure to regularly test it and keep it maintained so that it can help drain any water that does make it onto your property before damage can occur.
Flooding can also occur if storm drains become clogged. Keep an eye on the storm drains closest to your property and make sure to keep them clear of debris. This is especially important in advance of heavy storms since twigs and other objects are often washed into the drains and create clogs.
Pay attention to the state of the roads following rainfalls as well. If you notice standing water appears regularly, especially after an average rainstorm, it could suggest an underlying drainage or flow issue with the street. Should this be the case, it’s best to bring it to the attention of the city’s planning department.
Have a Plan for the Worst
There are a number of ways you can protect your property and assess your likelihood of suffering a flood. But nature has a habit of throwing curveballs. Always keep the possibility of a flood at the back of your mind and have a plan for what to do should you end up suffering one despite your precautions. This can be anything from keeping your furniture raised a few inches to researching local flood damage restoration companies.
Flood Services Canada is a leader in flood remediation along with mould, sewage backup cleanup, and fire and smoke damage cleanup. Our rapid response teams can quickly get to work to both prevent and mitigate flood and leak damage and aid in the restoration process. More information on our water damage restoration techniques and water damage protection can be found here.