How to protect your home from basement flooding as snow thaws

How to protect your home from basement flooding as snow thaws

A bit late season snowstorm means a big thaw heading into spring — and that could result in problems for homeowners, SGI is warning.

Earlier this month, a snowstorm dumped more than 30 centimetres of snow in Regina, and more in other parts of the province. Now, warm weather is melting a lot of the snow very quickly.

"The biggest threat [for homeowners], I would say, would be the inundation of water in the city sewer system and it getting to a point where it can't handle all that water and it ends up backing into an individual's home," said Kurtis Reeder, senior director of personal lines for SGI. 

SGI is also asking homeowners that in making preparations for potential snow problems to check their insurance policies for overland flooding and sewer backup coverage.

Lyle McIntyre, senior director for rural claims with SGI, had his own basement affected in 2014, when the sewers backed up due to a rainfall. His family was somewhat prepared for it and were home at the time.

"We got really lucky," McIntyre said. 

His neighbours weren't so lucky, as they came home to a foot-and-a-half of water in their basement. McIntyre said taking care of the insurance claim wasn't even the worst part; it was the loss of family space.

"When you think about it, that's half your house unusable during that time," he said. 

SGI reminds people to keep track of cleaning expenses, and take photographs and video of the damage.

SGI's home protection tips

- Rake remaining snow off of your roof.

- Check your eavestroughs and gutters for signs of ice dams and/or remove debris that could slow the flow of water.

- Shovel snow away from the foundation of your home.

- Check the grading in the yard to see that it is sloping away from the foundation, allowing melt water to lead away from your home.

- Extend your downspouts away from the home by at least two metres.

- Check your backwater prevention valve on the main line of your sewer, if your home has one.

- Check on your sump pump and pit to make sure everything is in good condition and ready for melt water.

- Check your basement regularly for signs of water.