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7 Ways to Protect Your Home from Spring Melt Flooding

spring melt ice sunshine

Windsor-Essex has a strange relationship with Spring melt. Winter snow comes and goes. Temperatures fluctuate. We go back and forth between two weeks of rain and thaw and then two weeks of snow and ground freezing. Rather than one big Spring melt, we have multiple smaller ones.

This back and forth causes soil to become clogged with water, creating a tremendous amount of hydrostatic pressure. This hydrostatic pressure forces water through your foundation walls or the mortar holding cement blocks together. On top of this, Windsor has a high-water table, sitting only 2 meters below ground level in some areas. Water has few places to travel to, which is why it forces its way into your home through your foundation.

We’re here to help. There are seven steps you can take to best prepare your home for Spring melt this year:

Indoor Steps

1. Check in on your waterproofing system.
If you have a waterproofing system that includes a sump pump or a backwater valve, it’s best to check that they are functioning properly before the Spring melt hits.

Your backwater valve can normally be found in your basement under a rectangular panel. While wearing gloves and protective eyewear, open the panel and check for any debris. Flush the valve with water to ensure there are no obstructions.

If you have a sump pump, clear the sump pump pit of any debris. Pour water into the sump pit until it activates to check if the sump pump is working properly.

2. Prepare your belongings for disaster.
Place storage items on shelving to elevate them off the floor. If any items have to be stored on the floor, place them in plastic bins instead of cardboard boxes. Elevate appliances like freezers and laundry machines on wooden blocks. Most basement floods are less than 3 inches. Taking these precautions will guarantee that if water does enter your basement, your belongings will not get damaged.

3. Learn to spot the symptoms of basement flooding issues.
Tell-tale signs of basement moisture problems include mould or mildew, off-putting smells, condensation around windows or pipes, foundation cracks, and water stains. Spotting a symptom of basement moisture early can save your home from a future disaster. For a detailed list of basement moisture issues, read our blog “6 Common Causes of Basement Moisture and How They Should Be Fixed.”

Outdoor Steps

4. Move snow away from the home.
When shovelling snow, relocate snow away from your foundation to a place in your yard where it will drain properly when it melts. This will prevent the soil surrounding your home from absoring as much water, reliving your foundation of some hydrostatic pressure.

5. Assess where water pools on your property.
After it rains, take a walk around your home and note where water pools. Especially check pathways, patios, driveways, and decks. These areas can settle over time, directing water toward your foundation.

If water is pooling in other areas against your home, your yard may need to be properly graded. Grading your yard with a gradual downward slope away from the home helps direct water away from the foundation, relieving it of some hydrostatic pressure.

6. Check downspouts and eavestroughs.
Remove any debris or obstructions for eavestroughs and downspouts. Ensure downspouts carry water far enough away from the home. They should extend a minimum of 6 feet away from the home.


7. Check your home insurance coverage.
Historically, home insurance plans would not include flooding protection. Today, that is largely not the case. However, overland flooding protection and sewer backwater protection are technically optional parts of a home insurance plan. Check with your insurance provider that it is there. If all else fails, at least you will be covered.

Spring melt is right around the corner. In fact, Windsor-Essex has already experienced this freezing and ping pong match this February. Don’t wait. The time is now to ensure your basement is protected.