How to Keep Your Basement from Flooding When Snow and Ice Start to Melt

Over the past few weeks, many parts of the country have experienced serious winter weather—including areas that don’t normally see that kind of snow and ice. And eventually that snow and ice melts, creating more water than usual, and...

How to Keep Your Basement from Flooding When Snow and Ice Start to Melt

Illustration for article titled How to Keep Your Basement from Flooding When Snow and Ice Start to Melt

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Over the past few weeks, many parts of the country have experienced serious winter weather—including areas that don’t normally see that kind of snow and ice. And eventually that snow and ice melts, creating more water than usual, and some homes can’t handle it. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prevent that water from getting into your house and flooding your basement. Here’s what to know.

How can snow cause basement flooding?

You may not associate flooding with snow, but it can happen—especially if the weather warms up quickly.

Here’s what happens, according to Flood Services Canada:

Basement flooding from snow melting is caused when snow piles up around the foundation of your home or property in the winter, and melts as the temperature warms up. In combination with springtime rainfall, this accumulation of water can leak into the soil and penetrate the ground water, leading to flooding in your basement. This will not happen to every property—it depends on whether your foundation meets a “stress test.” If the foundation is vulnerable to penetration by ground water, the chances of you having water in your basement will rise.

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How to prevent your basement from flooding in the winter

The best way to keep your basement from flooding is by shoveling the snow at least five feet away from foundation before it has a chance to melt. Here are some other tips, courtesy of Restoration Local:

If your home is on a grade or hill, shovel snow so that it doesn’t roll toward your home when it melts. This ensures melting snow flows away from your home, instead of towards it.Clear snow from your roof to prevent excessive buildups. This prevents a significant amount of water flowing through your gutters during a thaw.Keep drainage areas around your home clear of snow and ice build-up. This ensures melting snow will drain properly and helps prevent backups.Inspect basement walls for cracks. This includes caulking around windows too. Make repairs as necessary to prevent water from entering your basement.Check your landscaping before the snow arrives to ensure the ground slopes away from your home. Add additional soil if necessary to help melting snow flow away from your foundation.Check your roof for ice and snow build-up. This can lead to ice damages that allow melting snow to enter through your roof.Inspect your gutters and downspouts. Clear leaves and other debris regularly during the fall, as this can create blockages. Add downspout extensions to channel melting snow away from your home.Test your sump pump during the winter to ensure it works properly when the snow melts. Pour a bucket of water into the sump basin to engage the pump. If it doesn’t turn on, unplug the pump and investigate the issue.

If water does end up in your basement, don’t ignore it. Keep the area where the water got in as clean and dry as possible.