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Clear drains, redirect water to help prevent flooding: experts

Melting snow, especially after freezing temperatures, can mean flooded basements for homeowners, warn Victoria housing-repair specialists.

Melting snow, especially after freezing temperatures, can mean flooded basements for homeowners, warn Victoria housing-repair specialists.

Geoff Styba, owner of Raintek, said the first and easiest piece of advice he can offer homeowners is to clear the surface drains.

They are usually found near doors or on driveways, but can get clogged with leaves or other debris.

“There is going to be a lot of water trying to go down those drains in the next few days,” Styba said.

He cautioned that unlike rain, melting snow off a roof, for example, can result in a sudden rush of water that can overwhelm the perimeter drains of any house.

Often, when his firm gets a panicked call from a homeowner about a flooded basement, the first advice offered is to disconnect down spouts from the perimeter drainage system.

If down spout water can be drained away from the house, it’s more likely to save the perimeter drains, which normally keep water from entering a home.

Styba said disconnecting down spouts won’t solve a flooding problem. But it could provide some temporary relief until a drainage company can be called out.

“It will at least relieve some of the water pressure that’s on the perimeter drain system,” he said.

He recommended routine checks and maintenance on the perimeter drains.

A check is usually accomplished with a camera sent inside and costs about $200, depending on the home.

This check can be done at any time of year. But if it hasn’t been done recently then any time soon might be advisable.

Michael Arneja, project manager for Griffin Restorations, warned homeowners to protect water pipes from freezing and bursting. This can mean a flooded basement.

Homeowners with exterior pipes, to an outside hose connection for example, should have the pipes insulated or fitted with electrical warming coils.

Even an inexpensive foam cover over an exterior tap can prevent a costly mishap.

Arneja warned that the exterior covering, or envelope, of any building can develop cracks. In homes, they can develop in and around places like skylights.

This can allow the entry of moisture and cause mould, which usually shows up as black spots or brown marks on interior walls.

If that happens, Arneja advised homeowners to contact an expert to avoid unsafe exposure.

rwatts@timescolonist.com