Floods are a common hazard in many parts of Canada, and Mississauga is no exception. While flooding has been a concern for some time, this threat has increased as regional rainfalls have continually increased. This has led to more flooding events, and more property that is damaged as the result of floods.
With the risks increasing, it is important for every homeowner to consider what they can do to protect their homes and families against flooding. In this post, we are going to cover some of the common flood risks that exist in the city, and we are going to provide some tips for protecting against the possibility of flooding.
Types of flooding
When you talk about flooding, the greatest risk for a home is in the basement. For the residents of Mississauga, there are four types of flooding that are the most common. You have overland flooding, wastewater backup, storm water backup and foundation flooding.
Overland flooding is a type of flooding where the water flows over what is normally dry land. This generally occurs during periods of heavy rain, when things like creeks, rivers and lakes overflow their banks.
Wastewater backup and storm water backup are somewhat similar. This type of flooding occurs when one of these sewers gets backed up, and the water can come up through the drain and into the home.
Foundation flooding occurs when water is able to enter the home through the foundation. This can happen through cracks in the foundation, cracks in the basement walls, or it can get in through gaps like basement windows or at points where things like pipes enter the basement.
Why flooding occurs
Homes in Mississauga could potentially be subject to any of the types of flooding listed above. In some cases, it can even be a combination of different types of flooding. Along with that, there are different causes that can result in different types of flooding. To protect your home and your family, you need to understand the different causes of home flooding.
When it comes to overland flooding, the primary cause is heavy rain. During regular conditions, rivers, streams and other waterways stay within their banks, but during times of heavy precipitation, the waterways become overwhelmed and they overflow. This causes the water to spill on to land that is normally dry. Homes that are located on or near flood plains can be at risk during these events.
A wastewater backup is usually the result of a blockage in the wastewater drain. More often than not, this is a blockage in the lateral pipe that connects your home to the municipal sewer system. This can be from tree roots that have grown into the line to cause a blockage, or it can just be a blockage from an accumulation of various waste materials. This blockage can cause the wastewater to back up in the drain, and flow into the home.
Foundation flooding occurs when rain or snowmelt gets into the home through cracks and gaps in the foundation. This could be foundation cracks, cracks in the walls or it could be gaps like windows and doors. Factors like improper grading of the property and poorly maintained gutters can contribute to problems with foundation flooding.
A storm water flood occurs under one of two circumstances. In some cases, there might be blockage in the storm water drainage system, but in others, it could be the result of heavy rainfall that has overwhelmed the system. This could cause your weeping tile system to backup and flood the basement, and in an extreme weather event, it could cause the storm water system to overflow onto the roads, and possibly spill over to private property.
Factors that can contribute to flood problems
Now that you know about the different types of flooding and what causes them, we can look at a few issues around the home that may contribute to problems with home flooding. If any of these conditions exist on your property, it could expose your home to additional risks for flooding. If you can identify these risk factors, you can then move on to taking steps to address any problems that you may have.
The landscaping and grading of your property can pose a risk for home flooding. If the grade on your property is not sloping away from the home, it can add to the risk of problems with overland flooding, and it can also be a problem for homes that are prone to foundation flooding.
Cracks can form in your home foundation, and once they do, it can increase the risk of basement flooding. Along with cracks in the foundation and basement walls, various gaps can also allow water to get in. It could be windows, a basement door or it could be the holes through which pipes or other material access the basement.
You may also have drainage systems like a weeping tile or a sump pump. These measures can be good for protecting against flooding, but when they fail, home flooding can occur.
Poorly maintained eavestroughs and gutters can also contribute to problems with home flooding. When you gutters fail or get clogged, it means that they are not channelling the water away from your home. When this occurs, water can build up around the home, and this can contribute to problems with foundation flooding.
If you have a blocked lateral connection to the wastewater or storm water drainage in your neighbourhood, this can cause the water to back up into the home. As we mentioned before, tree roots can grow into the lines and cause a blockage but it could also be the result of things like grease, paper and waste.
If you want to prevent basement flooding, there are several steps that you can take. If you find any of the above-mentioned issues on your property, you should take steps to correct the situation right away.
One of the first things that you can do is make sure that your property is properly graded. You want to make sure that your property is graded away from the structure. This way, the water can flow downhill to the municipal storm water drainage system.
Maintaining the various drainage systems for your home and property is also important. You need to clean and maintain your eavestroughs. If your downspouts are connected to the local storm water drainage, you will want to take steps to disconnect the downspouts. If you have a sump pump, you should make sure that it works and that it is in good condition.
For the prevention of wastewater backup, there are several steps that you can take. First, it is a good idea to get a Mississauga plumber out to your house to inspect the lateral connection for any blockages. As an additional point, consider what you are putting down your drains. Things like grease and fat can accumulate, and this can result in a blockage.
When it comes to wastewater prevention, one of the best options is to install a backwater valve. These valves will only allow water to flow in the appropriate direction, so if wastewater does start to back up, the valve will close, and this protects your home from wastewater flooding.
As additional points to prevent foundation flooding, you will need to take steps to waterproof your basement. If you find any cracks, you will want to have them sealed. Look for gaps that can allow water to leak in and seal them also. Depending on the types of cracks in the foundation, you may need to contact a foundation repair specialist.
What to do before, during and after a flood
By following the steps mentioned above, you can greatly reduce the risk of flood damage to your home. However, even with all of your best efforts, flooding can still occur, and you do need to be prepared for such an event. In this section, we are going to look at what you should do before, during and after a flood.
The first point is to just stay aware of flood risks. Even if you do not live an area that typically has flooding, you want to pay attention to the weather and listen for flood warnings in your area. You should also make sure that your family understands the risks of flooding and develop a plan for any emergency.
With your plan for a flood, you will want to make sure to have an emergency kit. One that will have everything that you should need for staying at home during a flood, but also one that will serve you well in the event of an evacuation. Make sure to have things like a first-aid kit, a battery powered radio, flashlights, candles, lighters, money, non-perishable food, water, car keys, spare clothing, blankets and more.
To start, you want to monitor the conditions. Even if the flooding has not reached your area, it is important to keep an eye on reports from the local news. If there is a potential for flooding in your area, you will also want to take steps to protect your home. Make sure your sump pump is working, clean your gutters, make sure your drains are clear and check your backwater valve.
In addition to that, you will also want to take steps to protect the items in your home. Remove any electronics or valuables from your basement, Make sure your basement windows are shut. Move things like furniture and rugs out of the basement.
If floodwater has reached your neighbourhood, do not try to drive in it. Remember, floodwater can contain harmful pathogens, so you also want to avoid coming in contact with it. Floodwater could also be exposed to electricity, so there is also the risk of electric shock.
After the floodwater has receded, you can start to take stock and take measures to address the situation. As we mentioned before, floodwater can be harmful, so you want to be careful about the measures that you take to address home flooding.
If you are in Mississauga, the first thing you should do is call 311 to report the flooding. After that, you can start to assess the damage and call your insurance company. Since flood damage can be quite extensive, and the water can contain bacteria and other pathogens, you will want to start looking for a company that specializes in cleaning up flood damage.
If you had to evacuate your home during the flood, you will want to inspect some parts of the home before re-entering. If the structure does not look safe, then you will want to stay out. Further, you should view any item that has come in contact with floodwater as contaminated.
If your home is safe to enter, then you can start taking some steps to dry things out and get your home clean. Steps like opening windows and turning on fans can be a good way to accelerate the drying process.
Since floodwater could be contaminated, it is recommended that you hire a professional restoration service to handle cleaning your home. If you are going to do any of the cleanup work yourself, it is important to take the proper safety precautions while you are cleaning.
You’ll want to make sure that there is no chance of an electric charge before you work in any area that has water. You will also want to wear protective gear like waterproof boots, gloves, eyewear and you should also cover your nose and mouth.
As a resident of Mississauga, it is important that you are aware of the risks of flooding, and the types of things that you can do to prevent flood damage to your home. While steps like installing a backwater valve and grading your property can be good steps that can reduce your risks, there is no way to guarantee that your home will never flood. The key is for homeowners to be prepared for the event of a flood, and to know how to respond when one occurs.