How to Be a Water Whisperer

Basement flooding, sewer backup and general water damage can be stressful and time consuming — especially when it comes to replacing your stuff and getting your life and home back to normal.

Between summer storm seasons and spring run-offs, we’ve seen an increase in the number of Albertans dealing with water damage.

We want to do everything we can to help keep your feet (and your basement) dry, so here are a few steps you can take to help reduce the likelihood and severity of water damage to your home.

Clear the Clogs in Eaves and Downspouts

A ladder, hose, scoop and a pair of garden gloves are all you need to get this job done. Clean out leaves and debris from your eaves and make sure there are no breaks or clogs to cause water to run over and pool near your foundation. Make sure your downspouts flow and are properly attached and extended away from your home. Seal cracks if you find them in your eaves and downspouts.

Clear Some Snow

It’s pretty tempting to just let Mother Nature take care of getting rid of all that pesky snow when Spring rolls around — after all, all it takes is a few weeks of waiting for it all to be gone — but a little proactive shovelling can help prevent those water-induced headaches. Clearing your roof with an extendable roof rake can help ease the pressure on your gutters and downspouts, and it’s also a good idea to shovel the snow away from your foundation and into your yard for easier drainage and to keep it further from your house.

Make the Grade

When the ground around your foundation settles, it’s time to grab a shovel, top it up with some dirt and re-establish a slope. This will get water flowing away from your home again. Remember to take a look under your steps and decks, too. If the ground has settled here, grab a shovel and haul in some dirt to fix the grade and slope the ground away from your foundation.

Bring on the Backwater Valve

This valve sits inside your home’s main sanitary sewer line and prevents sewage from backing up and entering your basement. If sanitary wastewater tries to flow back into your home during a big storm, the valve flap closes and prevents this from happening.

Jump on the Sump

A sump pump is a small pump installed in the lowest part of your basement. It sits inside a sump pit and helps prevent flooding by keeping the ground under your home dry. As water flows into the pit, the sump pump kicks in and pumps water out of the pit and away from your home. Install a sump pump alarm, too — the alarm lets you know when water levels get too high and if the sump pump power fails, leaving you a window of opportunity to take action and prevent water damage.

If you already have a sump pump, check to make sure it’s powered, running properly (listen for grinding or strange motor noises) and that water is flowing from the discharge line outside your home.

Every home is unique, so it’s a good idea to speak to a qualified contractor about what solutions are right for you — and for more information about installing and repairing backwater valves, sump pumps, and sump pump alarms.

Stow your Stuff

Remove all your personal belongings from the basement floor, and keep important documents and irreplaceable personal items in a place they won’t be damaged. Recycle your cardboard boxes and replace them with plastic storage bins to keep your stuff dry.

Know your Coverage

In response to increased flooding events, the insurance industry in Canada has been changing how it handles sewer back-up coverage and introducing increased coverage for what’s called overland flooding — the flooding caused by both spring run-offs and overflowing bodies of water. AMA customers can get the scoop on our water coverage policies online, but it’s a good idea to review your home insurance policy with an insurance agent every year to make sure your coverage is right for you and your family. You can also take our quiz to see if you’ve got a handle on what is or isn’t covered covered on an AMA policy.

Questions about your  AMA Insurance coverage? Please contact us.


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