10 Ways to Protect Your Property from Flood Damage

Community News & Features May 11, 2018 at 2:29 pm

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As spring approaches across Canada, flood season in is full effect. While floods can happen at any time of year, spring thaws are the most common cause of flooding and flood damage in Canada. Every year, floods cause millions of dollars in property damage.

Areas close to rivers, lakes and coastal shorelines are most at risk as waters rise due to melting snow and ice. Other causes of spring flooding: heavy snowfalls followed quickly by warm weather, and heavy rainfalls when the ground is still frozen. Heavy spring rain can also cause municipal sewage and storm water systems to become overloaded, leading to sewer backups.
How to Prepare for a Flood

Here are 10 ways you can protect your property against flood damage, whether you’re a commercial property owner, property manager or homeowner:

1. Waterproof your basement, fill any cracks in the foundation, and put weather protection sealant around windows and the base of ground-level doors. Install flood shields or barriers for basement windows and doors.

2. Raise large appliances in the basement onto wood or cement blocks. If possible, raise electrical panels, switches, sockets, wiring and heating systems – otherwise protect them with a floodwall or shield.

3. Anchor furnaces, water heaters, and/or oil tanks to the floor. Unsecured, they may tip over or float in a flood. A ruptured tank may leak fuel, creating a serious fire hazard.

4. Check that all basement flood drains are not blocked or covered. For extra precaution, you can install a water alarm to let you know if water is accumulating.

5. Make sure your sump pump is working and install a battery-operated backup in case of a power failure.

6. Install backflow valves for drains, toilets and other sewer connections in the basement. These valves automatically close if water or sewage backs up from the main sewer.

7. Clear debris from your roof and eavestroughs so that they drain properly during heavy rains. Downspouts should extend at least six feet from the basement wall, well away from your and neighbouring properties.

8. Turn off the electricity in flood-prone areas of the property if a flood is expected in your area.

9. Talk to your insurance agent about flood insurance. Standard residential insurance typically does not cover floods caused by water overflowing from lakes, rivers and other bodies of water (called overland flooding), but may be available separately. For business owners, flood insurance is usually available as an add-on coverage to commercial property and to business interruption insurance policies. Commercial sewer backup coverage is also available but usually purchased separately.

10. Stay informed. Follow the latest public weather alerts for your area at weather.gc.ca/warnings.
As with any emergency, being prepared is the best way to protect your property from damage. If a flood has affected your property before, it could happen again. Take action now, before it’s too late.