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How Floodwater Can Damage Property and Tips to Protect Your Home


Over the last few weeks, Ottawa residents have been battling torrential downpours and flooding all over the city. The Ottawa River reached levels that haven’t been seen in 89 years, forcing many residents to be faced with waterlogged basements and floodwater that severely damaged their properties.

When rain starts accumulating and seeping into your home, the damage is often immediate. Basements and lower levels could be destroyed beyond repair your belongings as well as carpets, drywall and insulation will usually have to be replaced. Additionally, water can weaken a home’s foundation and structure, creating a safety hazard that must be assessed once the flooding has ended.

The extent of damage is often only apparent after the water recedes. When homeowners are finally able to access their basements and lower levels, they will have the opportunity to see what things must be replaced and what can be repaired. However, homeowners should be careful when entering their homes after a flood because there is often another danger present—mould and harmful bacteria. Floodwater is often contaminated with microbes that can pose a serious safety hazard, and any water-logged insulation or filters can be a breeding ground for deadly mould.

After a flood, it’s extremely important to have your house properly inspected for structural, safety and health hazards.

To help prevent floodwater damage to your home, the Canadian Government offers the following advice:

  • Use water-resistant building materials for renovations below ground level.
  • Install flood shields or barriers for basement windows and doors.
  • Install backwater valves for drains, toilets and other sewer connections.
  • Make sure your sump pump is working and install a battery-operated backup, in case of a power failure.
  • Install a water alarm to let you know if water is accumulating in your basement.

If you’d like to help support flooding relief, The Salvation Army is accepting donations to aid communities affected in Ontario and Quebec.

You can donate here.

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