Worried about your home flooding this spring? Prevention doesn't have to be difficult, experts say

If you're worried about water damage to your house, those working in the industry say there are some basic things you can do.

Restoration companies say they've been busy with calls from homeowners after weekend downpour

The property of a house on Webster Avenue in Winnipeg's South Transcona neighbourhood was flooded and iced over on Monday. (Emily Brass/CBC)

After a weekend of heavy rain, Manitobans have been busy cleaning up flooded basements and leaky roofs.

That's meant tons of calls for service to local restoration companies.

At Paul Davis Restoration in Winnipeg, general manager Ken Cruzat says they usually get four or five calls for service after a storm.

But in the last two days, he says they've received 50 calls about water coming through everything from foundation cracks to windows.

"I have owners that ... this hasn't happened to them in 30-plus years, and this is a big surprise to them," he said.

Same goes for Denver Property Restoration, another Winnipeg business, where senior project manager Brian Fehr says they've gotten close to 60 requests since Saturday.

More than 440 calls to 311 were made between Friday and Monday related to flooded basements, the City of Winnipeg said in an email on Tuesday. There were a total of 1,284 storm-related calls to 311 during the same period.

If you're worried about this happening to your house, those working in the industry say there are some basic things you can do.

First of all, take a walk around your home and check to see if water is pooling anywhere, and that nearby streets aren't flooded, Cruzat said. Make sure your eavestroughs and downspouts are cleared and are long enough that water isn't coming directly into your home, he added.

Water on the side of a home in the St. Boniface area of Winnipeg. Property restoration workers say you should check to see if this is happening around your home, and try to mitigate it before water gets into your basement. (Submitted by Amber Anderson )

If your street is getting flooded, you should call 311 to get it cleared before the water gets into your home, he said.

Cruzat also said if you have a sump pump, check to see if it's working properly and the motor is running.

Start early

A lot of the things that will help prevent water damage to your home in the spring should be done in the fall, and they should be part of your regular home maintenance, said Kelly Baziuk, owner and chief inspector at Welcome Home Inspection Services in Winnipeg.

"Why do people get water in their homes? There's a whole host of reasons. The biggest reason that I see is people do not do maintenance on their homes, the required maintenance," he said.

That should involve cleaning your gutters, clearing your downspout extensions and doing some landscaping so water slopes away from your home, he said.

"A lot of people would actually fare a little bit better if they just had a regular maintenance schedule to take care of these things," he said.

You should also be checking your sump pump regularly to make sure the screen isn't plugged and that the check valve is working properly, he said.

Fehr at Denver Property Restoration suggested also talking to your home insurer to find out ahead of time what kind of coverage you have for water damage to your home.

"Ask them for proper coverage, ask them what it takes to get that proper coverage. That's the main thing," he said. 

The city says homeowners are at risk of basement and overland flooding during periods of heavy rainfall, no matter where they live in Winnipeg, especially when snow melt is added to the mix.

The city also offers tips for homeowners to prepare for flooding on its website

With files from Jill Coubrough and Pat Kaniuga