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Springtime Flood Avoidance

Spring has sprung, and it’s looking pretty nice out there, but rapid spring melting often results in saturated or even flooding properties. We’ve got some suggestions that will help prevent the soggy mess outside from winding up in your basement.


Shovel Away Snow Accumulation
We’re enjoying a chinook at the moment, but March and April are statistically the snowiest months in Calgary. We might not be out of the woods just yet. Have a look around your property for any accumulations of snow against the house and shovel these off to an area that slopes away from the foundation. Chances are, your property has a back grade at some point; identify these areas and ensure they are clear of snow. An hour’s preventative work can save you the headache caused by that water rolling right back into the house. When melting does occur, take note of low spots around your home where water accumulates and fill them as soon as you can.


Downspouts & Drainage
Make sure your eavestroughs are clean and clear so that melt from the roof and rainwater can flow freely. You may want to install gutter guards to prevent clogs and overflowing drains. Also check to be sure your downspouts are connected and unobstructed, and are directing the water to a slope away from the house, or to a storm drain (if available). Take care not to direct the flow toward a driveway or sidewalk where it can create a hazard during nighttime re-freezing.

If drainage on your property is a recurring issue year after year, you might want to consider improving your grading and slope. This may require professional excavation, but sometimes digging a shallow trench and lining it with four-inch PVC pipe is all it takes.


Is Your Sump Pump Working?
Your sump pump should be checked yearly to ensure it will be in proper working order when it really counts. First, be sure the outlet pipe is free and clear of obstructions. Next, remove the pit cover and examine the pump itself, making sure that the recess is free of any debris that could hamper its operation, and that the float is free to move.

Very important: be sure the pump is plugged into a Ground Fault Circuit Interruptor (GFCI); this protects anyone from possible electrocution in the case of a short circuit while the pump is submerged.

Finally, to test the pump, slowly pour a bucket of water into the pump’s recess, keeping an eye on the float switch. When the water level lifts the float, the pump should cycle on and pump the water out. Ensure the pump turns itself off once the water is cleared. Repeat this process once or twice to be sure the system is operating smoothly.


Lawn Services
Watch out when you turn on the supply to your outdoor taps, especially if you were late turning them off in the fall. If freezing damage has occurred, it might not be readily apparent until you turn the water back on. If possible, get someone to keep an eye on the inside pipe and watch for leaks when you run the hose outside for the first time. Don’t be the guy who runs the sprinkler for a half hour only to come back inside to find an inch of water in the basement!


Give Us A Call
If you have trouble with any unwanted water in your house, we can do something about it. We provide inspection, repairs, maintenance and installation of sump pumps, and we can ensure your outdoor water lines are trouble free. Ask us about frost-free hose bibs, or ask us about anything for that matter! We’re here to help.

George Pinel
George Pinel

These blog posts are brought to you from George Pinel & the Instant Plumbing team.

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