Tips to prevent basement flooding during rain & snowmelt

January 11, 2018

Tips to prevent basement flooding during rain & snowmelt

As we anticipate snowmelt, milder temperatures, and rain, customers are reminded that any basement is at risk of flooding, even if it’s never happened before. Take action - Utilities Kingston offers the following steps you can take today to protect your home:

  • Check your sump pump for proper operation and follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations. For example, you may wish to:
    • Confirm it’s plugged in and working properly.
    • Check for any frozen lines that need to be thawed.
    • Consider an extra length of hose to increase the distance at which it discharges away from your foundation.
    • Consider, if your sump pump drains to the surface, the discharge point may be buried under snow and ice. Uncover it and clear a path so the water drains away from your foundation. Otherwise, water may recycle back into your basement.
  • Clear snow away from your foundation, providing a path for water to follow the natural grade around your house.
  • Check your sanitary backwater valve and maintain it according to the manufacturer’s directions. For example, if you can do so safely, you may wish to open the lid, clean it out, confirm there is a good seal in place and test its operation.
  • Ensure your downspouts are clear of snow and ice so water can route safely away. Shovel a path for the water to run well away from the foundation, or consider an extra length of pipe. (Stay safe: keep on the look-out for icicles that have formed and may fall from your eaves.)
  • Reduce your water use on rainy days. When it’s raining heavily the sewers may fill up. Using a lot of water during heavy rains (for example, taking a shower or doing laundry) can contribute to basement flooding and overflows to your environment. Consider using less water in extreme weather situations.
  • If you know that a catch basin on your street is covered in snow and ice, we’d appreciate if you could take some time to clear it. This will help make sure that snow melt and rainwater can enter the storm sewer and promotes good drainage away from your neighbourhood. (Tip: you can use Google Maps with Street View to locate catch basins on your street.)
  • Get 18 Flood Facts and tips to protect your property and view our video for more tips on preventing a soggy basement disaster.
  • Apply for preventative plumbing financial assistance.

Know what to do if your basement has flooded. First and foremost, consider your family’s health and safety. Entering a wet basement could be hazardous! When in doubt, don’t enter the flooded area until you are told it is safe by a professional qualified to do so.

If you have any concerns about utility equipment, contact the Utilities Kingston 24-hour line at 613-546-1181.

Related: Snow and ice can build up around outdoor water, gas and electrical equipment. Learn about the preventative steps you can take from our web page on Winter Safety