April showers might bring May flowers, but they also bring the risk of potential damage to your home without the proper precautions. Short but intense rain storms as well as flash flooding have become a growing concern across Canada, as water damage is now the leading cause of home insurance claims in the country. Most water damage is preventable however, and taking these measures will help protect your home this rainy season!
Clean out gutters and downspouts
If the rain from a heavy storm can’t run through your home’s gutters and downspouts, it can spill over the sides and land in areas that can soak through your home’s foundation, potentially causing flooding and structural damage. Rotted boards and windowsills can also be caused by clogged gutters. As a best practice, extend your downspouts away from the house by attaching a corrugated plastic pipe that can be purchased at any home improvement store. The pipes should extend at least 10 feet away from your house or any other structures. Another solution is to set up your downspout to empty into a rain barrel that you can later use to water shrubs, flowers and vegetables.
Get your roof ready
Worn out roofing material can potentially allow water to seep into your home and damage your roofing structure. It is recommended to inspect your roof at least twice per year, and again after any severe storms. Sealing your roof deck with a strong membrane can provide an added layer of protection against water damage.
Install or check the sump pump
A sump pump is an effective tool for keeping water out of your home. It works by digging a shallow pit in the basement and placing a small pump inside. As water collects in the pit during rainstorms, it is pumped through tubing outside the home. If your home has a sump pump, make sure the discharge pipe that’s exiting the house is extended far enough from the walls that it avoids having the same water soak back into your drainage system. You should routinely check if your pump is running by opening the cover and pulling up on the float to hear if the motor in running. You can buy a backup power source for your sump pump to ensure that it will work properly even if you lose electricity during a big storm.
Re-grade around the perimeter of your home
You can shovel compacted soil along the below-grade walls to create at least a two-inch-per-foot slope against the foundation. You can then cover that soil with organic topsoil mix and mulch to make to more attractive and add plants. Don’t forget to fill and slop soil under decks and porches.
Inspect the inside of your home
Check all of your home’s ceilings to make sure that you are not experiencing signs of roof or other leakage. Keep an eye out for water rings, mold or ceiling/wall discoloration – especially in the basement. After a recent storm, check for wet spots in the carpet of your basement, with special attention paid to the corners of the room.
Clear away dead branches
Make sure that dead branches have been cleared from around your home, so as to reduce the risk that they will fall during a rain storm and cause damage to your home.