How to Avoid the Costs of Flooding


“Water management is so crucial and important to every home,” says Weeks.

One of the first steps you need to take is to ensure that grading, or ground slope, is done properly around your home.

“Leave the classification as far away from the house as possible,” he says.

Weeks recommends watching how water collects outside of your home during a major downpour and seeing where it drains.

Be aware of where groundwater is going and if it’s pooling on one side of your home more than the other. This will help you determine if you need to adjust the valuation of your property.

“A flat property can be just as dangerous as a property that slopes towards you.”

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In addition to classifying your home, eaves are important in directing water away from your home.

“When you let the downspout come down, make sure it’s at least six feet from the foundation, not just six inches,” comments Weeks.

“Get away from your own foundation as best you can[…] especially if it is an older house.”

If your home doesn’t currently have an eaves, find a reputable company that can install one.

If your home has a gutter, regular maintenance is essential. Make sure it’s clear of debris that can cause waterlogging and lead to flooding.

sump pumps

A working sump pump with battery backup is an important tool in preventing basement flooding.

Sump pumps work by pumping water away from your home during heavy rain or snowmelt. Water collects in a pit, and when it reaches a certain level, the pump activates and diverts the water.

Weeks emphasizes that having a battery backup system with your sump pump is crucial. If you lose power due to a major storm and water continues to build up in your home, a sump pump connected solely to your hydro is useless.

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Getting started

Higher and lower temperature extremes

“You should think about the building envelope,” says Weeks, “that is, the exterior, the roof, the foundation, the walls.”

“Believe it or not, if your house doesn’t have good roof insulation, it can really affect heating and cooling.”

Heat rises, allowing hot air to enter your attic. Without proper insulation during the colder months, you will be running your oven more as hot air escapes through this space.

If you run air conditioning during the hotter months, you’re wasting energy cooling the attic as it’s typically much hotter than the rest of your home.

The return you get from lower electricity and gas bills will help offset the cost of upgrading your insulation.

The cost of insulation is approximately $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot, and the total installation cost can range from $1,500 to $6,000. However, you can see savings of around 15% on your energy bills. Weeks notes that the savings on your bills will pay for the work in three to five years.

Windows and doors

Along with insulation, your doors and windows are fundamental to preventing heat loss in your home.

If you feel like you have drafts entering your home, or your home has older wood frame windows, you probably need to upgrade them.

If the seal around your windows wears away with age, not only can you experience heat loss, you can also suffer from water ingress. This can cause damage to your home’s foundation, frame, and insulation that will be incredibly expensive to repair.

Other things to look out for are the condition of your roof. It is beneficial to have your roof checked by a roofer every few years as they can replace missing shingles and chimney caps if necessary and ensure everything is properly sealed.

Finally, Weeks recommends having an arborist come by to inspect any large mature trees around your home. Older trees can rot internally and therefore not be as strong as they appear.

If a major storm hits, the tree could be uprooted and fall into your home, causing devastating and costly damage.

Action from knowledge

Perhaps the biggest step you can take to prepare our homes for climate change is to be aware and informed of the condition of your home.

During extreme weather, pay attention to potentially problematic areas such as windows and doors to determine if action needs to be taken. If you’ve conducted a property inspection, review it to make sure any major issues have been addressed.

If your property has not been appraised for a long time, it may be worth having a home inspection carried out. In general, a home inspection in Ontario will cost you between $300 and $500, but the price will depend on factors such as the age and size of your home. But making sure your home is protected against the elements is worth the investment.

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