9 Yard and Home Maintenance Tips to Prevent Water Problems
Water damage can happen any time of year, but the risk is heightened when the snow thaws and the rain falls each spring.
Pooling water can seep in through windows and doors, shift the slope of your yard towards your home and create cracks in the foundation that water can flow through.
You can avoid water problems at home by:
- keeping your gutters, downspouts and roof in good repair;
- preventing water from pooling near your foundation, windows and doors; and,
- landscaping for optimal water absorption and drainage.
Here are some tips to get you started this spring.
Gutters, Downspouts and Roofs
- Clear blockages. Water needs to run freely along gutters in order to properly drain from downspouts. If your gutters are filled with debris, or your downspouts are blocked, rainwater can spill out and pool alongside your foundation.
- Establish proper drainage. Downspouts should be extended at least two metres from your house to ensure water drains away from your basement. Just make sure downspouts do not drain towards your neighbour’s house.
- Fix or replace as needed. Check for cracks, holes or gaps when cleaning your gutters and downspouts. You can try filling small breaks, but if the damage is significant, you should replace your eavestrough system.
- Roof repairs. The roof is the protective cover of your home and needs to be properly cared for to keep water out. Regularly check your roof for damage and repair or replace dented, broken, missing or worn-out shingles.
Prevent Water Accumulation
- Cover window wells. This will stop water and snow from collecting and leaking in through basement windows.
- Check for pooling after rain. Make sure to remove water from standing puddles around your foundation. Then fill in these areas with dirt, or re-grade your property if necessary, to prevent this issue in the future.
- Pile snow properly. Keep snow piles away from your foundation and windows in order to avoid the spring melt from creeping into your home.
- Install a sump pump. You might want to consider investing in a sump pump if your home isn’t already equipped with one. Typically located at the lowest level of your home (such as a basement), a sump pump keeps water out of your home by diverting excess groundwater to a nearby storm drain, dry well or detention pond.
- Check for settling. Newly constructed homes will continue to settle long after construction is complete, while weather and daily activity can impact the grading of established properties. Both scenarios can cause the earth to shift and slope towards your basement, rather than away. Check that any settling or shifting of your lawn, sidewalks, patios and driveways isn’t causing water to drain toward your home. If it has, try to build up the ground to divert water away from your foundation.
- Use flower power. Native plants and vegetation act as sponges and effectively soak up excess moisture, in addition to reducing soil erosion. Plus, they beautify your property and support local wildlife, such as birds and insects like butterflies and pollinators.
- Lawn care. Yardwork does more than add curb appeal. Regular mowing, raking and even watering all help to improve water absorption. If your lawn is significantly compacted or has a thick layer of thatch, you may need to take additional measures such as aeration or dethatching.
A Note About Water Coverage
Water damage is the most common cause of home insurance claims. That said, insurers do not treat all water damage equally.
Standard home insurance policies typically cover damage caused by the sudden or accidental escape of water from plumbing systems and appliances. This underscores the importance of staying on top of regular maintenance around your home.
Coverage for risks such as sewer backups and overland flooding can be added as additional endorsements to your policy, but this depends on where you live and the insurance provider you’re with.
Please contact your Rogers Insurance broker if you have any questions regarding your coverage or if you would like to update your policy.