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Flood Preparedness: What Can You Do Around Your Home?

By: Tonya Bruin

In the event of a flood, your home and belongings can be subjected to various forms and levels of damage, and in many cases, homeowners are left with no choice but to consider their property a total loss. It’s a horrible thing to go through and, with the several years of hardship the Ottawa-Gatineau area has faced as a result of devastating floods, we’ve witnessed the struggle firsthand. In an age when insurance premiums are rising and the weather outside is more-often frightful, you deserve to be better protected. It’s time to find new ways to safeguard not just your financial investments in terms of property and belongings, but it’s also home.

And home is where the heart is. Don’t let yours be broken by mother nature! With that in mind, here are some precautionary steps you can take to better protect yourself and your home against flood damage.

Flood Preparedness: What Can You Do Around Your Home?

Inspect and Seal Your Foundation

Floodwater can invariably penetrate homes through their foundations, and in extreme cases even uproot them by fragmenting and shifting the materials used to hold them together. Inspect your home’s foundation carefully, and apply mortar and masonry caulk or hydraulic cement to any cracks that have formed. This is a more effective solution than simply using mortar or cement, as it won’t crack again and works to expand and fill openings efficiently. Don’t forget to reach out to the experts with help if you need a hand in strengthening your foundation and basement.

Install Sewer or Septic Line Check Valves

Many homes subjected to a flood are considered a loss due to health reasons stemming from sewage backing up into standing water inside. Combat this by installing check valves, which ensure that waste can only exit and never reenter your home. Try to have them installed at a point in the piping where it’s easiest to access for repairs. You can install them on your own, but it’s less likely that something will go wrong if you entrust the skilled services of a professional.

sump pump

Keep Your Eavestroughs Clear

The eavestroughs around your home play a crucial role in protecting your foundation and roof from water damage, especially during flood season. They collect and redirect water away from the roof and your home. But throughout the year, the eavestrough system typically gets filled with lots of leaves, dirt, and other debris which causes blockages and overflow. To avoid any additional risk of water damage to your basement, walls and ceilings, make sure to have the eavestroughs cleaned out a few times each year, especially during the fall and spring when debris tends to accumulate the most. Also, check that the downspout is properly positioned atleast three feet away from your home so it can disperse any excess water towards the street or garden.

Clear Storm Drains

Storm drains are equally as important for preventing and preparing for a flood because they’re designed to collect all of that runoff from your property. If the storm drain near your home is covered with leaves, all of that water won’t have anywhere to drain out and will begin to accumulate. That’s why we highly recommend inspecting and clearing away any debris around the storm drains that are close to your home. Clearing the drain every six months or so is usually a good timeframe for remaining cautious and reducing the risk of a flood during intense storms or melting season.

Be Strategic with Your Landscape

Your landscape can also help to minimize damage from floods by acting as a buffer. By sloping the ground away from the home, it can redirect the water flow toward the street or garden. If your location is highly prone to flooding and you don’t have a properly angled gradient, it’s worth getting it professionally done. Also, be strategic with your garden by planting species that will minimize soil erosion and absorb excess moisture more easily such as Redosier Dogwood, Winterberry, Virginia Willow, Swamp White Oak, and Colorado Blue Spruce. Some other helpful tips include using mulch to protect the soil and hold rainwater, and adding drainage areas around the landscape.

Monitor the Weather

One of the simplest ways to master flood preparedness is to be aware of the weather. Monitor the conditions for your area on a regular basis, especially during seasons where flooding is a high risk, like the tail end of winter when the snow begins to melt or during the spring. By staying informed you can be ready and take the necessary steps to protect your home and belongings.

Get a Battery-Powered Sump Pump

This is an absolute must if you want to adequately protect your home — it’s just as crucial as laying down sandbags. The strongest defence against flooding, sump pumps force water out of your home without relying on dangerous electrical currents running off a community grid (which may be shut down in the event of a flood anyway). This will enable you to continually pump water out thanks to being battery powered, and it is a relatively inexpensive way of protecting yourself against massive and generally uninsurable property damage.

Assemble a Flood Kit

Additionally, make sure you take the time to assemble a flood kit for your household, containing bottled water, non-perishable food, a complete medical kit, waterproof flashlights, spare dry clothes, and other necessities. Also be sure to have your smartphone charged, and perhaps invest in an external rechargeable battery. Plan and rehearse an escape route, and have emergency contact numbers pre-set on your phone for single-touch calls.


Protect Expensive Items

The last thing you want to lose is something that’s precious and irreplaceable, and if your household is safe and able to get away, why not focus on protecting those valuables you just can’t bear to be without? It’s perfectly normal to want to protect important pieces of your past such as a favourite childhood instrument, photographs, computers containing irreplaceable data or your latest project such as a novel, and more. After all, once they’re gone, there’s no getting them back if they’re one-of-a-kind. Therefore, expensive items and valuables should be relocated to the top floor of your home or transported to a friend or relative’s property that is out of harm’s way. Items such as photographs, musical instruments, electronics, and important documents should be treated with the utmost care and placed as far away from the ground floor of your home as possible. You never know when a flood is going to strike for certain, so do this ahead of time if the waters begin to swell even in the slightest, especially if you live in a flood-prone area.

Reaching Out to the Experts

Another proactive thing to do is to prep your home for the worst, in terms of interior and exterior fixes. Doorframe gaps, windows with poor seal quality, cracked foundations and weak structural supports such as columns or basement walls should be addressed by an experienced repair professional. If you’re wanting to ensure the structure of your home can withstand all that mother nature has to throw at it, reach out to us at To Do-Done! We cover not only handyman services but also renovations that could prove to be handy themselves in the event of a flood. From door and window fixes to exterior carpentry and repairs, we’ve got you covered.

A flood doesn’t mean a total disaster if you adequately prepare and plan for it. Investing in protective features and equipment, properly maintaining your home, and ensuring the protection of your loved ones and valuables will make it a more bearable and less damaging experience. If you require assistance with preparing for flooding, don’t hesitate to contact To Do-Done for a free estimate and to request our expert handyman and renovation services.