Homeowner Tips to Prevent Basement Flooding from Melting Snow

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When large volumes of snow fall in specific areas, one of the issues that homeowners face is basement flooding.  Shoveling your driveway and poor driving conditions become tiresome in a hurry, but the effects of a flooded basement will remain long after the winter has ended. 

With the heavy snowfall that has occurred this winter, along with rain and a quick thaw, some degree of flooding in cities like London, Kitchener, Cambridge,Markham, Brantford and  Hamilton is inevitable. Whether or not your basement gets flooded this spring depends a lot on you. 

Removing Snow

It stands to reason that the more snow you have around your house, the higher the likelihood of basement flooding.  Take the time to remove snow from around the foundation, around window wells and from any lanes that direct water out onto the street. Try to move the snow into your yard so it doesn’t block the drains out on the street. 

Clear all snow and ice away from the downspouts on your house and even consider extending them out two meters so the water is farther away from the foundation.  Where possible, remove snow from catch basins in the neighbourhood to keep the flow of water moving. 

Protect the Foundation

Removing snow from around the foundation and directing water away are important tasks, but you should also add an extra layer of protection.  If you have a history of basement flooding, or feel uneasy about low-lying areas around the foundation, consider throwing down some sandbags to block water from entering the basement.  You won’t need to stack them chest-high like you see on tv, but even a few will make a big difference. 

You may also consider buying or renting a pump to get rid of any water that is accumulating close to the foundation.  Direct in out to the street where it can flow harmlessly into the sewers.  If you know of any holes or cracks in your foundation, now would be an ideal time to patch them up, before water
has the opportunity to seep in and cause problems. 

Check the Roof

When winter has produced heavy snowfall, the roof and eavestroughs are another place to check before the snow starts melting.  If it seems like there is a lot up there, and you aren’t about to try removing it, call in a professional to clear off the snow, ice and debris before it causes a problem. 

Health Dangers

Preventing basement flooding each spring is mainly about protecting the structure of your home, but there are potential health risks, as well.  Flooding means moisture, which is the prime breeding condition for mold, fungus and mildew.  Anyone living in the house who has a compromised immune system or lung condition may experience chronic respiratory issues if mold takes hold in the basement. 

The time to take action is before a potential problem becomes a real one, and for basement flooding due to snow melt, that time is now.  Along with the above-mentioned cities, snowfall charts show places like St. Thomas, Ingersoll, Sarnia, Tillsonburg, Windsor, Stoufville, Ilderton and many other southern Ontario cities and towns are in for a wet spring.  Protect your basement now, so it will stay dry later!