Avoiding basement flooding

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Sometimes the biggest issues concerning a property have nothing to do with home loans and mortgage rates. For many Canadian homeowners, one of those issues is basement flooding. This type of flooding is very common in many parts of Canada, and the damage it can do to a property should not be ignored.

Why do basements flood?
Unfortunately, basement flooding can be an issue in almost all seasons. Whether it be heavy rainfall or melting snow, the result can be a significant amount of water finding its way into a property's basement.

Cracked walls, plugged up drains, leaking downspouts, sewer cloggage – there are many reasons why water can end up where it doesn't belong.

Additionally, because basements are below ground, they are more susceptible to flooding from natural disasters than other parts of a home.

How bad is basement flooding?
While the idea of a little water may not seem like a major issue in the big scheme of things, homeowners who have had to deal with basement flooding know better. Besides damage to property, basement flooding can result in serious health hazards for home residents. Wet homes are likely to grow mold, which can ruin surfaces and lead to respiratory problems.

Of course, flood damage can also damage a home's structure, as well any personal property it encounters. Even if a homeowner is able to pay for the damage through insurance, their insurance rates will likely increase.

In addition, constant flooding can lead to a home depreciating in value, making the investment both less successful and the property itself harder to sell. 

Preventing basement flooding
Fortunately there are a number of measures homeowners can take to prevent basement flooding.

Functioning eaves​ troughs and downspouts are essential to avoiding basement flooding. This means homeowners must make sure downspouts are extended far enough from basement walls to avoid an overload of water. Downspouts should also drain away from a property, not toward it. Eavestroughs should also be cleaned to prevent overflow.

Homeowners should also find out if the land surrounding their property slopes inward, as this can bring water toward a home's foundation. If it does, filling it in and grading it so water drains away from a property can help.

Malfunctioning drainage systems can also lead to water build up, so making sure that your home's drainage is in working order is vital. If your home or the neighborhood's drainage system isn't working properly, contacting a professional or the municipality itself is a good idea. If drainage is an issue, investing in a sump pump or back flow valve can lessen the chance of flooding. However, it's important to speak with a professional plumber, or the municipality, in order to see if a permit is required.

Cleaning up a flooded basement
The first order of business is pumping out any water that has collected in a basement. Once that's finished, any vents or windows should be opened to allow for fresh air. Since a flooded basement can lead to mold, mildew and other hazardous materials in the air, it's a good idea to wear a face mask.

If a basement is carpeted, it will most likely be necessary to have any carpet removed entirely. Once it is saturated, it will lead to the spread of mold. Replacing carpet with tile or concrete will lessen health risks and make cleanup easier in the future.

Sanitizing the basement with bleach or other cleaning solutions is also a must. Also, installing fans and dehumidifiers will help dry out the space.

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