How to prevent basement flooding and the proper methods of cleaning up after a flood

Turn downspouts from your eavestroughs away from your house and allow them to drain as far away as possible. Water from downspouts will saturate ground surrounding the foundation and flood the basement as it seeps through weeping tiles.

Weeping tiles are perforated pipes running around base of foundation that collect excess moisture in soil and channel it through Brooklyn sewer pipes to storm sewers. If too much water is seeping into ground near the foundation, it can flood weeping tiles and back up into basement. Improve drainage around your home by building up ground near foundation, sloping away from walls. Install a back-up valve and a sump pump. The back-up valve will still allow water to flow down the basement drain, but will prevent sewer water from backing up the pipe. A sump pump can be installed on the sewer line to pump excess water out of the pipe and into the yard.

Do not install back-up valve without sump pump if there are plumbing outlets in basement. Without a pump to relieve pressure, the backup valve will force sewage through toilets, sinks or showers in basement.

CLEANING UP AFTER THE FLOOD: Check your insurance policy to see if it includes sewer back-up coverage. Contact your agent immediately. Take photographs of the affected area. Perform emergency repairs and remove all items that have been damaged or destroyed, but do not dispose of any damaged goods without your insurance adjustor’s approval. Discard contents of freezers or refrigerators exposed to floodwater. Also discard products in jars, bottles and cans if there are signs of seepage. The city is advising that no major renovations or replacements be made until September, when the flood risk will be lower. Utilities and services: All electrical wiring that was flooded must be inspected by an electrician before it can be turned back on. Winnipeg Hydro or Manitoba Hydro will perform an inspection at no charge. All natural gas appliances should be inspected by experts. Furnaces and appliances: Should be inspected before they are turned on. Using an electrical appliance before it is inspected can burn out the motor or cause an electric shock. All insulated appliances must have soaked insulation removed and replaced. Any appliance used to prepare food should be cleaned and disinfected. If you smell gas in your basement, call the utility immediately. Do not attempt to repair floors until they are completely dried out. Floors can be cleaned with a combination of borax (five to 10 per cent) and a few drops of kerosene. Soaked doors should be laid down flat on ground with doorknobs removed. This will limit warping. Rugs and carpets: Soaked flooring should be removed quickly and allowed to dry to protect against mildew. Thoroughly vacuum and then clean with commercial rug shampoo containing disinfectant. Wood furniture: Should be allowed to dry outside if possible. Upholstered furniture: After brushing mould off surface, wipe upholstery with a sponge soaked in soap suds or 50-50 solution of rubbing alcohol and water.

TAKE PROPER PRECAUTIONS: Scrub all skin surfaces that come in contact with floodwater. Salmonella, Shigella and Hepatitis A can be contracted if proper hygiene is not observed.

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