Culture & Entertainment

Spring basement flooding: why it happens and what you can do about it

By: Guest Blogger
Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Spring basement flooding: why it happens and what you can do about it

By: Guest Blogger
Basement flooding Guest post by Jamie Anderson With all the rain and snow of late, and with temperatures swinging from -8° to 6° some days, the first few weeks of spring haven’t been very consistent in terms of weather. One rainy day last week I returned home exhausted after a night out. I took two steps into my bedroom and—splish, splash!—found water everywhere. I didn’t want to go to bed anyway! The spring thaw can be a tough time for us basement dwellers. Once you’ve experienced one flood, you can’t help but be anxious as the mercury creeps above zero and all that snow starts to melt. I really should have known better—I’d already lost an area rug to a small lake that overtook my bedroom last February. As a renter, I pretty much have to take my landlord’s word that the basement is watertight. But I should have followed some of these tips from the City of Toronto for protecting against flooding:
  • Keep important items off the floor and install shelves
  • If items must be kept on the floor, keep them in watertight containers
  • Avoid carpeting whenever possible
I can vouch for that last tip—speaking from experience, it s no fun trying to roll up a drenched carpet after a long day. I try to keep things off of my floor, so this time around the only items that got wet were a few T-shirts and a stray blanket. After the last flood, I moved most of my treasured furniture to another room, and I tied plastic bags to the feet of anything I couldn’t move. I let my landlords know about the problem, and I believe them when they say it has never happened before. But if you are a landlord or homeowner, here are a couple of further precautions you can take, both inside and outside the house:
  • Make sure sump pumps and other basement flooding devices are maintained
  • Ensure that there are no cracks in your home’s foundation or window seals
  • Clean out eaves troughs and downspouts, and ensure that they are draining far enough away from the house (about 2 metres is ideal)
  • Make sure that the green space around your home slopes away from your foundation, and create shallow ditches between properties
Luckily, my cleanup required little more then soaking up water with some towels (okay, an arsenal of towels), then doing laundry and turning on a fan. But others aren’t always so lucky. Here are tips for what to do if you have bad flooding:
  • Keep children and pets away from the area, in case there are contaminants from cleaning solutions or other chemicals in the water. (This is especially difficult if your cat, like mine, thinks that chasing towels is a great game)
  • Be careful around electrical equipment; turn off your power or call an electrician if you’re uncertain of the hazards
  • Wash all surfaces and keep the area well ventilated
  • If need be, call a professional cleaning company that’s experienced with flood damage
The onset of spring is meant to be a happy time—don’t ruin it by being unprepared! (Image: Flickr Creative Commons)
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Spring basement flooding: why it happens and what you can do about it

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