10 Tips To Prevent Flood Damage In Your Home
When water ends up where it doesn’t belong, it can do a lot of damage — but many homeowners don’t think about preventing it until it’s too late. Take these ten steps to help prevent damage to your home before it happens:
Seal cracks in your foundation walls and basement floors. This is a simple way to help reduce the risk of basement water damage. In most cases, you can seal existing cracks from the inside of your home without having to dig around your foundation.
2. Window Wells & Covers
Window wells, or wells dug outside a below-grade window, are typically reinforced with galvanized steel or polyethylene shields that support the earth and block debris and moisture from reaching your basement windows. Not surprisingly, they can significantly improve drainage and help prevent windowsill rot. Besides installing wells, adding well covers or plastic sheeting as inexpensive barriers will provide extra protection.
3 . Weeping Tile
A weeping tile or a foundation drain can be essential in ensuring your home has proper drainage. Also called a drain tile, perimeter tile, or foundation drain, a weeping tile is a porous pipe used for underground water collection. If you were wondering, these pipes were made initially from terracotta tiles — hence the name. But nowadays, they are typically corrugated plastic pipes with small slits or weep holes buried around your foundation to drain moisture. Where to direct your weeping tile drainage is an essential factor, too. Your safest bet is to install a sump pit and sump pump in your basement and direct weeping tile water to it. It can be pumped safely from your home with a flexible line.
4. Disconnect Downspouts from Weeping Tile
Eavestrough downspouts are to move water from your eavestroughs to a more absorbent surface, like your lawn or garden, at least six feet away from your home. Downspouts connected to your weeping tile or sanitary sewer drain can overwhelm these systems, leading to sewer backups. If you redirect your downspouts, avoid sending water to your driveway or sidewalk, as it can ice over in the winter and create a different hazard.
5. Install a Sump Pit & Sump Pump
Weeping tile connected to the sanitary or storm sewer drain means more water flowing into the municipal sewer system during heavy rainfall — a perfect storm for a sewer backup. Be sure to install a sump pump (in its sump pit) to move water to the surface where it can safely run off. If you’re unsure where to direct the flow, contact your municipal government to confirm the right pathway for water runoff.
6. Backup Power for the Sump Pump
Sump pumps require electricity and won’t work during power failures. Have your sump pump connected to a reliable backup power source, such as a battery or generator, to work when you need it most.
7. Backwater Valve
Mainline backwater valves allow sewage to flow out of your house — but not back in — when the sewer system becomes overwhelmed. Backwater valves are required by some municipalities and recommended by others. Some newer homes typically have them installed during construction, but not all. If unsure, most valves have an easily removed cover (somewhere in your basement) to allow for regular maintenance, so start looking! If your home is without one, a professional plumber can assess your home’s plumbing system and see if your home qualifies. Installing a backwater valve could get you an insurance discount, too.
8. Fats, Oils, & Grease
Over time, they build up and create blockages that can lead to a sewer backup. Dispose of these substances with your regular food waste, and don’t put them down your drain.
9. Clean Eavestroughs & Downspouts
Cleaning leaves and debris out of your eavestroughs at least once a year can avoid clogging, and keeping storm sewer grates clear of leaves, trash, ice, and snow is also helpful. When storm sewer systems are blocked, there is a higher risk of water flowing back toward your property. Contact your municipality if you notice repeated clogging of your street’s sewer grates.
Diverting water from your home naturally with landscaping such as sloping hills and strategically placed shrubbery — can help to keep your basement dry.
Overland Water Coverage
Insurers refer to ground flooding as overland flooding. If the water touches the ground before entering your home, it’s overland flooding. Generally speaking, Overland Water coverage protects you from damage caused by excessive rain, overflowing rivers, spring run-off, and melting snow. However, it’s important to note that not all types of flood damage are covered by insurance. For example, your insurance does not cover damage caused by saltwater water or groundwater seepage.
Sewer Back-Up Coverage
Root growth, blockages, or even breaks in the pipes exiting your home can cause backups in kitchens, laundry rooms, or bathrooms. A standard home insurance policy doesn’t provide coverage, but you’ll often be able to purchase coverage as a rider to your policy. Sewer backup coverage protects you from loss or damage to your property caused by the rupture or escape of water from a sewer, drain, sump pump, or septic system. Remember that coverage doesn’t extend to the sewer pipes outside your home.
Water involving overland flooding is Saskatchewan’s leading cause of property damage and loss. To learn more about the impact water has on you, check out FloodSafe Saskatchewan to learn more. The most prepared homeowner might not win against Mother Nature in a flood. So remember to keep irreplaceable family heirlooms and important documents high and dry — and out of the basement. Interested in a quote for Sewer backup coverage or Overland water?
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