By Ardith Stephanson
Devastating photos and videos from floods on the west and east coasts of Canada are shocking and sad.
Severe rainstorms and flooding have chased many people from their homes in mass evacuations, along with washed out highways, overrun farms and businesses, and massive property damage. British Columbia and Atlantic Canada are reeling from the floodwaters, leaving many of us wondering: are floods getting worse?
If you own a home, other relevant questions you’ve likely asked are:
· Is my home protected from a flood?
· Can floods be prevented?
· Are floods covered by home insurance?
A natural weather disaster can’t be prevented, but there are some key points about flooding and water management that are important for homeowners to know.
Let’s take a look at 4 facts to know about flooding and your home.
It’s true that one thing you can’t control is the weather. But it does appear that water issues in general are increasing in frequency.
The Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation is an applied research centre at the University of Waterloo. The Centre helps homeowners, communities and businesses to identify and reduce risks associated with climate change and extreme weather events.
A study conducted from 2016-2018 involved developing and testing a nationally applicable home flood risk assessment tool. The tool was used to conduct over 500 Home Flood Protection Assessments in Saskatoon, Burlington and Toronto.
The study concluded that residential basement flooding is on the rise across much of Canada, caused by “intense rainfall events combined with aging infrastructure, increased urbanization, loss of natural infrastructure, and a lack of flood protection measures at the household level.”
In 2018, the Insurance Bureau of Canada placed an average price tag of $43,000 per flooded basement.
Added to the concerns over potential water damage, homeowners also have to worry about insurance coverage.
CBC’s Marketplace found that some homeowners lost their flood protection because of multiple claims or because of the growing risk of climate change. The Insurance Bureau of Canada told Marketplace that it estimates six to 10 percent of Canadian homes are “currently uninsurable due to flooding and that estimate could go up as more insurance companies update their risk assessments to account for the rising threat of climate change.”
It’s important to know your insurance coverage, and to find out if you can take steps to protect your home that will help ensure you do have proper coverage.
Either way, there are steps a homeowner can take to protect their home from water damage.
The Home Flood Protection Program does provide information for homeowners to help identify and limit their risk of basement flooding. The program identified 10 top actions that can be completed to reduce the risk, and many of these are not expensive changes to make.
Examples include keeping the floor drains clear and testing your sump pump regularly. If you’re on a flood watch, it’s worth having backup power installed for your sump pump.
If you do have a heavy rain incident, it’s important to check your home for signs of water damage. Unseen water can quickly create mold, which is a health issue that impacts indoor air quality.
For instance, look for:
· water stains
· smelly attic or basement
· water seepage
· leaky roof
Even a heavy rainfall or rapidly melting snow can cause issues, so it’s worth booking a mold inspection by professionals. The team at got mold?™ offers mold inspection services in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
Despite the best preparations, water damage can still happen. Flash floods from extreme amounts of rainfall, rising water levels from snow and ice melt, or water damage for those properties located near rivers and lakes can all have serious consequences to your home or business.
If you do experience flood damage, there are some key steps to take to ensure your safety as you begin the flood restoration process.
Besides the development of mold that’s already been mentioned, there are other concerns that arise in the hours after severe water damage:
Contaminated Water: Floods can cause a backup of sewer lines, bringing sewage into the home. Even flood water can be contaminated with bacteria that can make you sick. Make sure you wear hip waders, rubber boots, and rubber gloves any time you will be coming in contact with floodwater. Wash your hands frequently and take other safety measures to combat the bacteria that can arise in water damage situations.
Drinking Water Precautions: If flood water gets into the drinking water supply, it can quickly cause contamination. Public health advisories suggest checking with the local authorities to see if drinking water is safe or if a boil water advisory is in place after a flood. If you have well water, you need to test the water before drinking it.
Contacting the professionals at got mold?™ is the best option if your home experiences flood or other water damage. We will work with you through the flood restoration process.
In recent weeks, many of us have wondered: are floods becoming more frequent? Are floods caused by climate change?
Whether flood news is top of mind for you as a homeowner or business owner, or you simply want to ensure your home is safe from dangerous air quality issues like mold, you can trust the experts at got mold?™ to provide you with advice and resources to deal with flood damage, water damage, sewer backups and more.
Ardith Stephanson is a freelance writer and journalist who shares some of her own stories at theardizan.com