Toronto Real Estate markets will not be the only thing heating up in the next few weeks. Winter, like most good things, will surely come to an end. However, if left unprepared, an abrupt shift to warmer climates, reffered to as a “Spring Thaw” could signal dangerous flooding and damage to your home.

A recent report by the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo concluded that approximately 1.7 million Canadian homes (almost 20 per cent) are labeled at risk of flooding. Feeling lucky? Even if your home or neighborhood doesn’t have history of flooding, you can still be at risk. Incorporate the fact that the average cost of a flooded basement is over $40,000 and the ounce of prevention may more than make up for the pound of cure.


Factors Impacting Flood Vulnerability

The most popularized form of flooding is Riverine flooding. As can probably be deduced from its name, this type of flooding is where the volume of water exceeds the abilities of an existing waterway, causing banks to be submerged and water to spread. Obviously, if you’re living near a river, you’re probably most at risk for this. However, common to urban areas is a flooding known as Overland flooding. This type of flooding occurs when the runoff exceeds the capacity for an environment to contain it. The most common manifestation of this is during heavy rainfall, or massive amounts of snowmelt. Finally, homeowners are also at risk to sewer back-up flooding. This occurs when drainage systems become blocked or jammed, resulting in an overflow traveling up the pipes and out of available openings.


1. Remove Snow Buildup

If you notice an area of your yard or street to be lower than its surroundings, there’s a good chance water will collect here. Simply removing snow from these areas before it melts can ensure drainage systems in the area don’t become overworked and the water doesn’t spread to higher ground. Removing snow from around the foundation of your house, driveway, and backyard can also greatly reduce your risks. If you have a flatroof, it’s recommended you shovel it as clear of snow as you can.

remove snow buildup


2. Clear Drainage Spouts

It’s a good idea to check all drainage and water spout systems. Checking for debris and ice buildup and ensuring they are clear can greatly reduce the risk of a flood or leak. Typically, ice and snow exposed to direct sunlight tend to melt faster than those left in the dark. If you notice consistent issues with ice buildup inside your downspouts, installing a heating cable through the spout can assist with ensuring the water has a clear drainage path away from your property. Should you notice large piles of debris, broken storm ducts, or are at all concerned about a system on city property, you can call Toronto’s 311 service and report it.


3. Install Backwater Valves

Backwater valves, sometimes referred to as backflow preventers, is a device you can have professionally installed on your sewer drainage line. The valve allows for easy drainage into the city’s lines, but has a special locking mechanism to ensure water only flows in one direction. In the event that the sewer lines begin to backup, the valve will ensure you’re not dealing with the mess.

backwater valve

So there’s 3 very simple ways to ensure you have a dry spring! Do you have any tips? Let us know in the comments below.

Have a question or comment? Be sure to contact us.

Find the full report here