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How To Avoid Damage From Winter Storm Flooding

How To Avoid Damage From Winter Storm Flooding

Calgary’s unpredictable weather can cause flooding at a moment’s notice. The repeated thawing and freezing of snow and water can lead to damages over time and sudden chinooks and other unpredictable weather can lead to mass melting of snow and subsequent flooding. This can cause water damage in the house, particularly in the basement. When you live in a flood prone area such as Calgary, flood damage is not always covered by insurance, so it’s crucial to take extra steps to prepare for any potential floods. When a winter storm occurs, it can be dangerous to try to fix damages due to the icy and slippery conditions and flood water can contain bacteria and viruses so if you do experience flooding, call a restoration expert for clean up. The best way to save your house is to take preventive steps against flooding.

Know And Avoid The Causes of Flooding

Causes Of Flooding

  • Snowmelts. When living in Calgary, you have to be prepared for the sudden snowmelts brought on by chinooks. When a heavy snowfall suddenly melts, it needs somewhere to drain; if the snow is piled up on or around your house, that likely means all the freshly melted snow is headed to your basement.
  • Frozen Pipes. Because water expands when it freezes, the ice in your pipes can cause them to burst. It likely won’t be noticeable while the water is frozen, since you may not see the split, but once it thaws you’ll be able to tell there’s a leak.
  • Cracks. Similar to pipes, if any water gets into the cracks of your home, it will expand when it freezes and make the crack larger.
  • Ice Dams. When you have a section of snow and ice that’s hanging off the roof in icicles, those are ice dams. Ice dams can cause serious structural damage to your roof as they can weigh hundreds of pounds. Ice dams are formed when the snow and ice on your roof thaw from the heat of your house but the water has nowhere to go and thus collects and refreezes on the roof. This can create flooding and destruction to your roof, gutters, paint, insulation, interior drywall, and other surfaces.
  • Sump Pump Failure. Many Calgary homes have a sump pump installed in case of basement flooding. If you rely solely on your sump pump to keep your basement dry and it fails during a storm or snowmelt, your basement is likely to flood.

Flood Prevention

  • Shovel. Every Calgary resident is familiar with shoveling, but make sure you shovel more than your driveway. Shoveling the snow away from the base of your house is the best way to prevent it from seeping into your basement when it melts. Try to break up any ice that’s there as well.
  • Clear The Roof. Snow that sits on your roof can weigh a lot and cause structural damage, and all of that snow can also melt and cause flooding. To make roof clearing easier, you can buy a roof rake.
  • Check The Drains. Take a walk around your house and make sure your gutters, catch basins, and downspouts are clear. Downspouts should direct water away from the house by at least 2 meters.
  • Test The Sump Pump. A sump pump is a lifesaver when it works, but check it on occasion to know that everything is in working order. It’s a good idea to get a battery backup so that the sump pump will keep working even if there’s a power outage.
  • Check The Basement And Take Precautions. Basements are the most likely place to flood in your house, so try to keep furniture and electronics slightly elevated off the ground year round. If there’s a storm warning or a warm period predicted after a snowfall, be prepared. Don’t leave your valuables in the basement/on the floor and be sure to check the basement routinely, especially if you live near the base of a hill.

Get Calgary Storm Damage Cleanup

Sometimes flooding is unavoidable. Even if you’ve done the preparation, there are some storms that are severe enough to cause damage especially if your house is situated in an area that is prone to flooding. If your home does flood this winter, call 24/7 Restoration in Calgary. Our team of experts have resources and experience to mitigate flood damage and immediately start restoring your home. Storms and other household disasters don’t wait, so we stay on call for 24-hour services. If your home is flooding from the Calgary winter storms or burst pipes, or if you’ve suffered water damage from previous drainage issues, call 24/7 Restoration for clean up at 1-403-247-4365 or contact us by filling out the contact form.


Q: Is there any way to guarantee my basement won’t flood?
A: The preventive steps above are a great way to reduce the risk of flooding and subsequent flood and water damage, but there’s no way to guarantee. Having a sump pump with a secondary power source can help put your mind at ease and having the 24/7 Restoration phone number handy can also be helpful, as the sooner you call, the sooner the damage can be fixed.

Q: Is it safe to walk through a flooded basement?
A: Never walk through a flooded basement unless the electricity has been turned off in your home. The risk of electrocution is incredibly high. Even if the electricity is turned off, walking through a flooded basement is not safe as the water may be contaminated, and there may be objects in the water that can cause bodily harm.

Q: How quickly can mold start to grow if the water is not properly removed?
A: Because basements have less airflow, mold can start growing within 72 hours.

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