Spring is on the horizon, leading to time spent gardening, riding bikes, and meals cooked on the BBQ. To make the most of the warming weather, take steps now to be prepared for the challenges that come along with spring weather, freeze-thaw cycles and spring floods.
Warm daytime temperatures and overnight freezes make great maple syrup but can cause damage to your home, exposing you to greater problems. Spring floods can come on suddenly. However, preparation for these events doesn’t have to take a lot of time and will ensure you’ll enjoy those care-free warmer days.
When it comes to preparing your home, follow a checklist to make sure that you’ll stay high and dry no matter the weather.
- Address maintenance needs – Be sure that any minor leaks get addressed as soon as possible. Not only can small leaks turn into big leaks, but even small leaks can turn into other problems given enough time; a small amount of water over time can be the foothold mould needs to take root.
- Eavestroughs – The freeze and thaw cycles common in the springtime can plug up eavestroughs and drain pipes. Be sure to check on this frequently, and keep downspouts cleared of obstruction.
- Sewer Systems – If you’re on a municipal sewer system, make sure sewer grates are cleared of snow. A couple of minutes with a shovel means that you won’t have a flooded roadway. Inside your home, check on your sewer drains. Have a professional make sure check valves are installed and working properly so that water can get out and waste doesn’t flood back into your home.
- Sump Pump – Check your sump pump to make sure it’s working. A backup sump pump that runs on battery power is especially helpful if flooding causes power outages.
- Protect valuables – Put your important valuables in waterproof containers and move them out of the basement to a higher location. We can restore most items but we’re certain you’d prefer to have your prized possessions safe in the first place.
When it comes to preparing your family, spring is an ideal time to review your emergency plan (link to previous post) and preparedness kit (Link to previous post). Replace any perishables in your emergency kit – anything with an expiry date. Make sure everyone knows where to meet in case of emergency, and don’t forget your pets! Rehearse your plan so it’s fresh in everyone’s mind.
During flood events, be sure to listen to local news for bulletins from your municipality. A battery powered radio is an inexpensive and simple solution that can be used to keep informed. Respect directions provided by local authorities. If you must go out, take only approved routes, and don’t try to sneak around barriers. If you’re sheltering at home, be ready to evacuate if directed to do so. Keep kids and pets away from flood areas.
Contact your insurance company right away. They’ll have directions to help you through any potential claims and can work to help get things back to normal as soon as possible. Remember that whenever a large storm blows through, a lot of homeowners may be a similar situation, so patience will go a long way.
Don’t forget that even after a flood event, there can be lingering effects like power outages and boil water advisories. Listen to local news to make sure you know when things are back to normal. Don’t go out unless it’s necessary – emergency services and utility companies will be working hard to restore services to normal. If you’ve been evacuated, wait to return home until after you’ve been given permission.
Once home, don’t use electronics or appliances if any part of your home’s electrical system has been flooded. Get an electrician to check things over to ensure there’s no risk.
Either because of flooding, or power outages, food can spoil. If you’re not certain that your food supplies are safe, take the precaution of throwing out anything suspect. If you have large items with water damage, let us know. We have saved favourite furniture, dried out flooded hardwood floors, and helped identify and treat any structural damage from flooding. If something can’t be saved, be sure to follow directions for proper disposal.
If you and your family are safe and well looked after, consider looking for volunteer opportunities. Organizations such as the Red Cross and Salvation Army are hard at work to help anyone overwhelmed by flooding, and often can benefit from having extra help. Be sure to call first to see what’s needed – while extra help is usually appreciated, volunteer groups will know what’s most effective.