How to defend against flood­ing in your home or busi­ness
Once again, it’s spring in Cana­da. The news is filled with images and sto­ries of flood­ed homes, base­ments and busi­ness­es. The pho­tos are daunt­ing and heart­break­ing. In extreme cas­es, not much prepa­ra­tion can be done besides mov­ing to high­er ground. How­ev­er, in many less severe cir­cum­stances, some things can be done for ear­ly detec­tion and pre­ven­tion.

Here are some tips that can help!


  1. Assess the land­scap­ing around your build­ing. Over time for many rea­sons, the grad­ing should move water away from the build­ing’s foun­da­tion. Spring is an excel­lent time to ensure that prop­er grad­ing allows grav­i­ty to take the water away from your build­ing intact. Make sure flower beds don’t block water flow away from your build­ing.

  2. Your struc­ture should also have well-main­tained and ade­quate­ly installed troughs along your eaves and down­spouts that direct water at least 6 feet away from your foun­da­tion. In old­er homes, some down­spouts were con­nect­ed to weep­ing tiles or home drains; these should be dis­con­nect­ed and capped. It can over­whelm the gut­ters, and the water will return to your base­ment. It also adds stress to the city sew­ers.

  3. Bud­get cuts have reduced street main­te­nance in many towns and cities. This results in storm drains that are cov­ered in debris or blocked with sand and leaves. Check the street sew­er grates near your home or office, and if some sim­ple sur­face clean­ing is required, do it; if the sew­er appears to be severe­ly blocked, noti­fy your local city works depart­ment asap so it can be cleaned pro­fes­sion­al­ly. Get­ting the sur­face water drained away quick­ly pro­tects all the prop­er­ties in the area.
    Some things can be done inside your home to pre­vent flood­ing and min­i­mize dam­age should a flood occur.
  4. If you are in an area vul­ner­a­ble to flood­ing and high ground­wa­ter, installing a sump in your base­ment may be wise. If you already have a sump pump, con­sid­er installing a bat­tery back­up; floods are often simul­ta­ne­ous with storms and pow­er out­ages, so a back­up bat­tery may save your base­ment from water dam­age.
  5. If your build­ing is in a city or town with munic­i­pal water and sewage, you may want to con­sid­er installing a back­wa­ter valve. A back­wa­ter valve is a back­flow pre­ven­tion device that pre­vents out­bound water from re-enter­ing — “back­flow­ing” into a home. The valve con­tains a flap that allows water to exit the house but clos­es to pre­vent the back­flow into the home. Some munic­i­pal­i­ties have sub­sidy pro­grams that will help cov­er some or all of the instal­la­tion cost of this valve.
  6. Your build­ing’swa­ter sup­ply should have a shut-off valve where the sup­ply pipe enters your build­ing. Ensure this valve is in good work­ing order (not seized up), and turn the sup­ply off if you leave your place for extend­ed peri­ods. This will pre­vent dam­age from a burst pipe in your absence.
  7. To lim­it expo­sure to water dam­age, put appli­ances, like fur­naces, on pedestals to get them off the base­ment floor. Keep all elec­tric wiring and out­lets as high as pos­si­ble on base­ment walls. Try not to store heir­looms, and valu­able doc­u­ments in the base­ment, espe­cial­ly on the floor.
  8. Your home Alarm Sys­tem can also help. If you haven’t already added water detec­tion devices in the base­ment and your laun­dry room, it’s time to ask your ser­vice provider. These devices can pre­vent 110’sof thou­sands of dol­lars in water dam­age through ear­ly detec­tion.
  9. Although the weath­er is warm­ing up now, we know that the win­ters are long in Cana­da. A sig­nif­i­cant cause of water dam­age is a burst pipe due to it being frozen. Add a low-tem­per­a­ture sen­sor to your alarm mon­i­tor­ing plan to alert you BEFORE your pipes freeze.
  10. Check your insur­ance pol­i­cy. Many stan­dard insur­ance poli­cies have very lim­it­ed or NO flood cov­er­age. Ask about the cost of adding flood insur­ance to your home, espe­cial­ly if you are in an ear prone to flood­ing.
    It’s essen­tial to have a plan for what to do if a flood threat occurs. If you need to evac­u­ate the build­ing, have a list ready of “o do’s” It should include tak­ing essen­tial doc­u­ments with you, includ­ing but not lim­it­ed to Home insur­ance papers, pass­ports etc., and it may be a good idea to turn off the gas and elec­tric­i­ty. How­ev­er, con­tact local author­i­ties for advice on what to do and where to go! Safe­ty first!



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Allan Baum
Security Industry veteran with over 30+ years in the industry. Founded family owned and operated Protection Plus in 1994 with his wife and has overseen its growth since. In addition to working with his wife and son, Allan has assigned the role of Chief Canine Officer to his trusted dog Waub, who joins him at the office every day.