It’s that time of year when winter finally releases its iron grip (hopefully), and the world begins to thaw. While longer, sunnier days are great, spring brings a particular threat to homeowners: spring melt. A few warm days can quickly turn all the ice and snow to water, and if you’re not properly prepared, that runoff can end up in your basement, damaging both your property and your belongings.
Making Sure You're Covered
Homeowners should be aware that a lot of basic home insurance policies don’t include water damage protection by default. If you think your basement may be affected by spring melt, you’ll want to talk to your insurance broker to ensure that you’re covered against any potential damage. Full and proper protection may require you to purchase some additional riders, but the saved headaches and hassles can be well worth the extra few dollars you pay for your policy.
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An Ounce of Prevention
But there is good news. There are steps that you, as a homeowner, can take to minimize your risk of spring flooding. One of the first things you should do is clear away the snow from around your foundation. Make sure you’ve got at least a clear six feet around the base of your home, in order to keep the melting water from seeping in through your foundation. And while you’ve got the shovel out, you’ll also want to clear your roof and eaves trough of excess snow and debris. Basically, you want to get as much snow away from your house as you can, while making sure the remaining runoff has some place to go, other than into your basement.
Of course, it’s not just your home that’s impacted by spring melt. When storm drains get blocked by snow, ice or other debris, the melting water has nowhere to go, which can turn your street into more of a river, notes the CBC. If you notice a blocked drain near your home, it’s worth the extra time to clear it out or report it to the city, so that the water can find a clear path into the sewers – and away from your property.
Preparing for the Worst
You’ll also want to prepare for the worst: check things like your front cleanout and back flow valve to be sure that they’re working. And if you don’t already have one, you may want to invest in a sump pump to get rid of any excess water. Not only can a sump pump save you the headache of cleaning out floodwater from your basement, but it can also get you a break on your home insurance, so it makes a wise investment. To learn more about how to install a sump pump in your home, step by step written instructions are found here at Popular Mechanics or you can watch the video below by This Old House:
Spring is a time of renewal. You should be able to spend it outside enjoying the nicer weather, not locked away in your basement trying to salvage your property and belongings from rising water. By ensuring your property is ready for the thaw, you can save yourself needless headaches over the coming weeks. And with proper home insurance protection, you’ll have some peace-of-mind that even if the worst does happen, you’ll be covered for the damage.