A little rain can be good for us, it helps our gardens flourish, our grass green, and our farmers happy, it is definitely no cause for concern. However, special weather warnings involving heavy rain can be a serious issue and all of a sudden those flowers are flooded, our grass is a pond, and the crop is ruined. Luckily for us in Ontario severe rainfall is not a common event we have to contend with, however, that is not to say it doesn’t happen and when it does we want you and your property to be prepared.
Preparing the Outside of Your Home
Before the storm arrives it is important to begin your external preparation. This is a quick check of the important sections of your home that will keep the rainfall away.
Check Your Roof
Examining your roof is a good place to start. Ensure your roof is in good condition and there doesn’t appear to be any potential exposures or damage. Look for missing tiles, sagging edges, cracks in the chimney and if you find any of these it is best to call an expert right away to have them examine and fix it or at least temporarily cover it.
Clean Your Eaves-Trough
Next up is cleaning your eaves-trough or gutters. If your gutters are not cleared properly, rainfall will begin to pool in troubled areas and this can cause your home problems. It is also important to make sure your downspouts are pointing away from your foundation. If water pools against the foundation it can seep into basements or cracks and now you have water in your home. Even minimal seepage can lead to mould or deteriorating foundation support which can cause problems down the road. The idea behind the gutters is to direct the water away from your foundation but without properly cleaned gutters that won’t happen. If constant clearing of leaves and dirt from your gutters is an issue it may be a go idea to invest in downspout covers similar to these:
Clear Debris From Street Grates
If you live in the city double check street grates to make sure there is no debris blocking them. It is the cities job to inspect the grates but clearing debris away from them can go a long way in protecting your home from water damage and sewer back up issues during a heavy rainfall.
Store or Cover Valuable Items
The last item for preparing the outside of your home before a heavy rainfall is; storing any valuable items that you have outside, in a safe place. Patio furniture, garden tools, and barbeques are all at risk of damage during heavy rainfall. Storing items in a waterproof shed is a good place to start. However, not all of us have access to a shed and so storing items in a space inside your home (preferably not in the basement) seems like the next logical solution. For your BBQ make sure if it is staying outside it is secured properly so it will not blow around or tip over and that it has a properly secured cover on it to prevent the rain from damaging or rusting it.
Preparing the Inside of Your Home
Getting the outside of your home protected and ready is just step 1. It is also important to make sure you prepare the inside of your home.
Check Your Sump Pump
The first thing to look at is your sump pump (if you have one of course). Ensure it is working and give it a few quick tests. We also recommend carrying a battery generator in case the power goes out to ensure your sump pump will continue working. Not to mention many of our companies provide a discount on your home insurance if you carry one. It’s a win-win!
Close Your Windows and Doors
An obvious one, but it does sometimes get overlooked is to close any windows or doors that may be open. Also move away any furniture or electronics that are near windows because even when they are closed water can still find its way in and cause damage to nearby items. Remove any valuables and furniture from the basement level as this is the area that is most exposed during a heavy rain storm. And believe me not everyone will be as calm and cool as this guy when their basement floods and their items are damaged.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Make sure cell phones are charged, flashlights have new batteries in them, and there is food and water in an accessible area. With heavy rainfall can often come thunderstorms that can knock your power out. Preparing a bag of dry clothes and an emergency kit is a good idea in case you are without power for an extended period. If there are any essential medications it is a good idea to make sure they are easily accessible for all household members. Creating a plan and preparing supplies is important for your family’s safety to make sure all members are aware of what to do and have the proper supplies to keep them safe in the event flooding occurs.
Be Cognisant of Your Electrical & Gas Lines
The final area to think about inside your home is the electrical and gas lines. These often are overlooked and yet they are some of the most dangerous side effects of rainfall. Making sure you can easily turn off your electrical switch or panel is important to prevent potential electrocution if flooding makes its way into wall outlets or electronics. Gas leaks can also occur if the water rises high enough to extinguish the pilot light on your furnace or water heater. It can be difficult to cut the supply of gas to these lines in a short period of time but it is important to not use any open flames until you are absolutely certain no gas leak has occurred. If you do suspect a gas leak it is best to leave your home entirely until an expert can evaluate the area. Be careful if driving as roadways can also be dangerous and if the roadway looks unsafe do not proceed and turn back to an area with higher ground.
Making Sure You Have the Proper Insurance Coverage
Water damage has become one of the most complex elements of many homeowners’ policies and is now responsible for more home insurance claims than any other exposure. With coverage options such as sewer back up coverage, overland water, ground water, and complete water protection it can be difficult to differentiate and determine which are important for you. Understanding these coverage’s and what they protect is better left to the experts. Let a broker explain to you what they mean and if they are available to you. The help of a McDougall insurance broker is always a quick click or phone call away and we want to make sure you have the proper protection for you home insurance when heavy rainfall occurs.