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Home Flooding Mitigation Techniques


Flooded basements can happen all too easily and often without warning. Learn how to prevent or limit water damage and what to do if water floods your home.

6 Common Causes of Basement Flooding

  1. Using a sink or toilet to improperly dispose of materials such as fats, oils, grease and diapers
  2. Tree roots growing through cracks in the waterlines and causing blockages
  3. Overloaded sewer and storm water infrastructure that leads to a sewer backup
  4. Frozen water pipes
  5. Vandals blocking sewer lines
  6. Illegal hook-ups that allow excess water into the lines – outside stairwell drains, sump pumps, downspouts and drain gutters should never be connected to the sewer system.

Home Flooding Mitigation Techniques

9 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Water Damage Risk

  1. Keep all floor drains clear of obstructions.
  2. Arrange to have someone check your property if you are away from home for more than 3 days.
  3. Ensure that there is proper grading around your home.
  4. Install a sump pump.
  5. Install backflow valves or plugs for drains, toilets and other sewer connections, to prevent sewer water from entering your home.
  6. Store important documents and irreplaceable personal objects (such as photographs) where they will not get damaged.
  7. During the winter, if you are away for more than 3 days, drain the plumbing or arrange to have someone come in daily and check that your heat is still on.
  8. Elevate furnaces, water heaters and electrical panels in the basement on masonry or relocate these objects.
  9. Avoid finishing areas like basements that may be prone to flooding.

Each insurance policy is different. If you are uncertain about what is covered in your policy or would like more information about optional coverage, contact your insurance representative.

What to Do If Water Floods Your Home

Be careful! Do not turn on any electrical switches until a licensed electrician checks your electrical system. If you have gas service, check for fumes. If you notice an odour, call the gas company immediately. Remember, carbon monoxide (CO) is odourless, tasteless and deadly. Ensure you have a CO alarm in your home.

Protect your property. Take action immediately. Board up holes or shut off water supplies to ensure your belongings are not damaged further. Move items out of wet basements and away from flooded parts of your home. Save receipts for materials you use. If the loss is covered by your policy, your insurance company will cover any reasonable costs associated with protecting your property.

Call your insurance representative as soon as possible. She or he will work with you to ensure the damage is assessed, the insurance company is notified and you are compensated as quickly as possible if the loss is covered by your policy.

Be aware of health hazards. During a flood cleanup, the indoor air quality in your home may appear to be the least of your problems. However, failure to remove contaminated materials and reduce moisture and humidity can present serious long-term health risks. Standing water and wet materials are a breeding ground for micro-organisms such as viruses, bacteria and mould. They can cause disease, trigger allergic reactions and continue to damage materials long after the flood.