Top tips to avoid flooding in your home

With rainfall projected for Thursday and Friday, the snow piled high on curbs in Waterloo Region will be melting. CBC K-W consulted three experts on how to prevent flooding in your home.
A man walks along a snow-covered Dundas Street in London, Ontario, Wednesday, February 2, 2011, after the area was hit by a winter blizzard overnight. (Dave Chidley/Canadian Press)

Rain is in the forecast for Waterloo Region on Thursday and Friday and with it, the snow piled high on curbs across the area is likely to melt quickly.  For some tips on how to prevent that meltwater from ending up in your basement, CBC K-W consulted three experts.

From Mike Seiling, director of building for the city of Kitchener: Clear snow away from your home

 “Given that we’re expected to see rain in the coming days, it would be prudent on home owners to remove excess snow from the roof, excess being amounts greater than two feet. Be very careful, because in addition to the snow up on the roof, there will be some ice underneath some of that snow.

Another area to prevent water [from] coming inside one’s house would be to remove the snow that’s piled up directly at the overhang and eavestrough to expose the eavestrough, whether frozen or not. What happens is, where there [are] large quantities of snow on the overhang and the eavestroughs are covered in snow, the water will back up. It will enter below the shingles and could enter below the house.

The other opportunity for water to enter the house is through the basement. If the downspouts aren’t clear and free of snow and ice, water will overflow the downspout and could enter through any cracks in the foundation. It’s wise to keep the downspouts free and clear of snow and ice.”

From Mark Turner, Turner Home Inspections: Check your sump pumps

“It’s very important to make sure our sump pumps are working properly, especially in Waterloo Region where we have a lot of clay in the soil.

The typical homeowner can go down just check their pump by lifting the float up and making sure it’s running properly or dumping water into the sump pump pit to make sure that the pump is actually running.

The biggest problem that we’re having right now is that the ice and snow buildup on our roofs is plugging our gutters and our downspouts to the point where they’re frozen solid. We’ll be expecting rain the next couple of days [and] that water’s going to shed off the roof and it’s going to run right beside our houses. What’s going to happen is that water’s going to permeate through the ground right by the foundation and go right into the weeping tiles, which is going to make our sump pumps run like there’s no tomorrow…until it gets rid of all the excess water. Making sure that sump pump is running is going to be really important.”

From Dan Sandink, manager of Resilient Communities Research at The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction: Look for gaps in basement where utilities enter and consider drainage on property

“You want to look where utilities like hydro and maybe cable TV come into your basement and …see if there’s a gap that might be around where those utilities come into your basement. Consider moving snow away from those areas or possibly even sealing up those gaps to reduce the amount of water that might come in your home.

Another thing you want to do around your home is look at how your downspouts are draining away from your home. In general, you want to make sure that water drains away from your home as far away ... as possible. If you have a downspout that’s draining directly beside your foundation wall, you want to make sure the water can clear the foundation area safely, or possibly even redirect your downspout a few feet away from your foundation wall and make sure the water flows off of your property safely. This might involve clearing a bit of snow out of the way to make sure the water can flow toward the street or to a catch basin on your property.”


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.