In Canada, an average basement flood costs homeowners $43,000 to repair.1 Flood risk is increasing across the country, as rising temperatures due to climate change lead to more extreme events, such as heavy rainfall or rapid snowmelt. It’s no wonder more and more Canadians are thinking about how to prevent and recover from flooding.
The good news is there’s plenty you can do to minimize your risk of home flooding. From simple, no-cost repairs to more extensive upgrades, there are plenty of solutions to try.
Basement flooding in Canada
In Canada, residential basement flooding is the most expensive consequence of climate change.2
As a result of this growing risk, it's harder for Canadians to find insurance protection. An estimated 1.5 million homes (10% of residential housing) can no longer get insurance for basement flooding, even when they are able to secure insurance for fire, theft and other damages.3
For homeowners without insurance, a basement flood means costly repairs and months of upheaval. For those who rent basement apartments, it means extensive property damage and potentially the loss of their home. So how can you protect your home from basement flooding?
Simple ways to minimize flood risk
According to Dr. Anabela Bonada at Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, University of Waterloo, there are simple measures you can take to minimize the risk of flooding.
“You can greatly improve your home’s flood protection with very little cost or expertise. Even simple upgrades can have a big impact.”
Among the Centre’s no-cost recommendations are:
Keep your eavestroughs clear of leaves and debris
Check for plumbing or fixture leaks
Do-it-yourself, simple upgrades under $250 include:
Install and maintain a flood alarm
Extend downspouts to direct water away from your home’s foundation
More complex upgrades, likely to require the help of a contractor, include:
Install a backwater valve
Correct grading to direct water away from your home’s foundation
Positive action = Positive outlook
Your efforts to guard against flood damage will benefit both your home and your peace of mind.
Dr. Blair Feltmate, Head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, University of Waterloo, says that when homeowners feel empowered with knowledge, they act to reduce their flood risk.
“There is a great deal you can do to minimize the impact of flooding. We’ve seen over and over that once people know what to do, they are likely to take meaningful action.”
As individuals, neighbours, and communities, we all benefit from knowing how to reduce flood risk. Once you’ve taken the time to assess and upgrade your home, be sure to share what you’ve learned with friends, neighbours, and loved ones.
Learn more about protecting your home
1,2,3Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo
Government of Canada releases report that will advance work on Canada’s first national flood insurance program - Canada.ca
Floods: Information & Facts - Canadian Red Cross