With water claims on the rise due to climate change, Insurance companies have started to introduce overland water coverage to protect you. However, it still is important to know the leading causes for flooded basements, ways to prevent floods, and what to do in the event of a flood.
6 Most Common Causes For A Flooded Basement
- Using a sink or toilet to improperly dispose of materials such as fats, oils, grease and diapers.
- Tree roots growing through cracks in the waterlines and causing blockages.
- Overloaded sewer and storm water infrastructure that leads to a sewer backup.
- Frozen water pipes.
- Vandals blocking sewer lines.
- Illegal hook-ups that allow excess water into the lines – outside stairwell drains, sump pumps, downspouts and drain gutters should never be connected to the sewer system.
9 Ways to reduce your flood exposure
- Keep all floor drains clear of obstructions.
- Arrange to have someone check your property if you are away from home for more than 3 days.
- Ensure that there is proper grading around your home.
- Install a sump pump.
- Install back flow valves or plugs for drains, toilets and other sewer connections, to prevent sewer water from entering your home.
- Store important documents and irreplaceable personal objects (such as photographs) where they will not get damaged.
- During the winter, if you are away for more than 3 days, drain the plumbing or arrange to have someone come in daily and check that your heat is still on.
- Elevate furnaces, water heaters and electrical panels in the basement on masonry or relocate these objects.
- Avoid finishing areas like basements that may be prone to flooding.
What do do if a flood does occur
Take quick action. Whether you notify a HMS broker, call the insurance company directly, or call a restoration company, the quicker you respond to the water damage and begin repairing or replacing the damage the better. Water damage can drastically worsen over time, and the sooner a restoration company is able to begin their work the more likely they will be able to reduce the damage.
Be careful. Do not turn on any electrical switches until a licensed electrician checks your electrical system. If you have gas service, check for fumes. If you notice an odour, call the gas company immediately. Remember, carbon monoxide (CO) is odourless, tasteless and deadly. Ensure you have a CO alarm in your home.
Protect your property. Take action immediately. Board up holes or shut off water supplies to ensure your belongings are not damaged further. Move items out of wet basements and away from flooded parts of your home. Save receipts for materials you use. If the loss is covered by your policy, your insurance company will cover any reasonable costs associated with protecting your property.
Be aware of health hazards. During a flood cleanup, the indoor air quality in your home may appear to be the least of your problems. However, failure to remove contaminated materials and reduce moisture and humidity can present serious long-term health risks. Standing water and wet materials are a breeding ground for micro-organisms such as viruses, bacteria and mold. They can cause disease, trigger allergic reactions and continue to damage materials long after the flood. Professional restoration companies are trained in mold and mildew cleanup, and know how to properly restore a flooded area, preventing any mold and mildew. Cleaning up the area yourself with vacuums might not be enough to remove the water entirely.
Source: IBAC – Mitigation techniques
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