Spring Melt - Tips to Protect Your Home from Water Damage

Sunday Mar 10th, 2019


I wrote this post last year during 2018's early February thaw. Here we are, once again, set to experience a big melt as temperatures finally begin to rise throughout the rest of this week. There are some precautions you can take now to prevent any water damage to your home - specifically your basement. 


Storm Drains

  • Keep them clear of snow, ice, and debris to prevent flooding from happening if there is a rise in the temperature. This is particularly important during a thaw or come spring when one of the main causes of localized flooding is a blocked storm drain.


Melting Snow and Pooling Water

  • If snow is melting rapidly, it’s a good time to go outside and see how and where the water flows around your home. Check your eaves, downspouts, and surfaces in your yard that will point you toward flood-prone areas. Adjust downspouts to fix areas of pooling water, take note of patio stones that require releveling, and ensure the grading around your home slopes away from the foundation wall to help drain water away from your home (without negatively affecting neighbouring properties).

  • If water is pooling, it could quickly turn to a slippery ice patch during a freeze-up. Limit salt usage to protect buildings, wildlife, vehicles, clothing, vegetation, and pets; consider non-clumping cat litter or fireplace ashes. Shovel the snow first and then treat only the ice patches.


Check your Foundation Exterior and Interior Basement Walls

  • Seal cracks or openings in walls, floors, windows and foundations, and seal all window wells. Consult a professional if you do find a problem.

  • The City Of Toronto offers owners of single-family, duplex and triplex residential homes a subsidy of up to $3,400 per property to install flood protection devices. Eligible work includes: Installation of a backwater valve. Installation of a sump pump. Severance and capping of a home’s storm sewer or external weeping tile connection.


Check Your Water Meter

  • Keep a close eye on your water meter in winter when cracking or bursting pipes can be a concern. To check for leaks, simply turn off all the water in your home and then check the flow indicator on your water meter. If it is moving, you have a leak somewhere.


Sources: City of Toronto Stormwater Management, Kawartha Now, Feb 15, 2018

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