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Ontario is set for warmer weather and a wet spring, which also means an increased risk of flooding.It’s important to prepare your property for the spring thaw to prevent potential water damage, basement flooding and damage to the electrical system.
Download our flood pamphlet to learn more about what to do in case of a flood and what to include in your emergency preparedness kit.
Beware of snow or ice against the side of your home: it can seep into the ground, toward your foundation. Shovel the snow at least two feet away from exterior walls to keep the water at bay. Also identify any cracks in the foundation. If you spot cracks wider than a dime or “step cracks” (both horizontal and vertical), consider calling a foundation specialist. You can seal hairline cracks yourself with one of the many do-it-yourself products available. For packed snow and ice, use a shovel or ice chipper to create channels to divert water as the white stuff melts.
Once you’ve checked what’s below, look up at the eavestroughs, downspouts and the drains they empty into. A properly functioning drainage system is critical to preventing melting snow, flash floods and spring showers from damaging your property. Remove any buildup that’s accumulated over the winter – leaves, twigs and other debris that can clog up gutters and prevent water from draining properly. Make sure your gutters and downspouts let water flow and deposit in a safe distance from your foundation.
A sump pump allows excess water to collect in a pit in your basement, pumping it outside to prevent flooding. If you have a sump pump, ensure regular maintenance so it’s ready when you need it. Common problems include cracks or leaks in the hose, rusting metal parts and broken motors. Clean your sump pump at least once a year by removing the pump, and cleaning it and the pit itself. Make sure you have a check valve on the discharge pipe (so water can’t flow in), and ensure the cover fits properly to prevent water evaporating in your basement. If you have an alarm to alert you when it starts running, be sure to check that too.
A sump pump can’t function without electricity, so if your home is at high risk of flooding, consider getting a backup power source, such as a battery or generator. If power outages are expected in your area, stay informed by using our Outage Tools.
Good flood prevention begins with good grading – ensuring the slope of the immediate area around your foundation angles away from your home. Proper grading helps ensure that excess water flows down and away. If you routinely have water accumulating near the foundation, you should have the property re-graded as soon as possible. Work with a contractor or foundation specialist to ensure you have the recommended 5% downward slope. The key is to divert water from the foundation, so you can divert your attention to more enjoyable spring activities.
If you experience flooding, please see our Flood Safety Tips and call us immediately at 1-800-434-1235 to have your power disconnected. To ensure your safety, there’s no cost to disconnect and reconnect power to a flooded property. To protect your home from melting snow, rising water levels and spring runoff, we offer four preventative tips.