Sunny skies, dry air and not a cloud to be seen for miles. That was the carefree summer the lower mainland was lulled into the past few months.

“It’s going to be hot and dry well into the fall, this is great!” – that was me last week.

Well, by now we should all realize that in Vancouver, dry spells such as these are simply mother nature’s way of playing a cruel joke on us all.

And on August 30th, a hellacious wind storm rocked the greater Vancouver area and left half a million BC Hydro customers without power.

The rain is coming, folks, and no one wants to wake up one morning to damp carpet in the basement and the expensive repair bills that follow. 

Here are three easy ways to find out whether or not your home is flood-prone in the months to come. 

1. Standing Water

Do you have a large puddle or two somewhere on your lawn? Standing water occurs when water flows slowly (or not at all). Identify problem areas such as low spots in your yard that are filling up with runoff from your house or from indentations in the landscape.

Is your garage door and driveway dry and draining properly away from the house?

Was your lot graded properly to allow for easy flow of surface water?

Are your downspouts free of obstructions?

Low areas or spots with natural obstructions above and below the ground can create big problems when the rain starts to fall. 

2. Backed Up Sump

The easiest way to determine whether your sump is operating is to check the level of the water in the sump. If there’s water above the outlet then you’ve got a drainage problem. Water that drains into the sump needs to be removed to make way for more water!

If your sump is using a pump (most are in wet climates such as the lower mainland’s where the municipals main drainage line is higher than your basement), the water level should be sitting below your inlet pipes.  

 Is the elevation of your district’s sewer system higher than your basement or crawl space? If it is, then a properly-functioning duplex pump system is your best defense against winter flooding. 


3. Red Iron Oxide Mineral In Your Sump

 Iron oxide or iron algae, as some drainage professionals refer to it, latches on to the nutrients flowing through the water and wreaks havoc on your sump. The red iron clumps together and clogs drainage lines and pumps, preventing your water from flowing freely and safely. 

Here’s what red iron looks like.

Iron oxide is especially prevalent in climates like ours, so it’s vital to ensure you take care of it quickly. Preventative maintenance can be done by flushing your drains with a water jetter, this should be done every year without question. If you know what you’re doing already and possess the proper equipment, that’s great, but if the red stuff remains or is too large of a job then you should probably call us. 

And sorry for the shameless self-promotion. 

Respecting Drainage

Wherever rain water is supposed to drain, if the water spills onto the ground or bubbles up then you have a problem. The first defense against a wet basement is diligence. Too often we hear customers who knew they had a problem but ignored it. 

Well, it will cost you a lot more in the long run.

A big storm might give your system all it can handle, but it’s the ongoing back-up that causes most floods in greater Vancouver’s basements. 

Most of these checks can be performed safely on your own, but if you have any questions we’d love to help. Give us a shout!