“Water management is so crucial and important to any home,” says Weeks.
One of the first steps to take is to ensure that the grading, or ground slope, around your house is done properly.
“Get that grading sloped away from the house as much as you can,” he states.
Weeks recommends observing how water accumulates outside of your home during a major rainfall, and seeing where it drains to.
Pay attention to where the groundwater goes, and if it accumulates on one side of your house more than another. This can help you determine if you need to adjust the grading of your property.
“A flat property can be equally as dangerous as a property that's sloped towards you.”
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Along with the grading of your home, eavestroughs are important to help direct water away from your house.
“When you have the downspout coming down, make sure it's at least six feet away from the foundation, not just six inches,” Weeks comments.
“Get it away as best you can, from your own foundation[…] particularly if it's an older home.”
If your home presently doesn’t have eaves, find a reputable company that can install one.
If your home has an eavestrough, regular maintenance is essential. Be certain that it is free of debris that can cause water to back up and result in flooding.
A working sump pump with battery backup is an important tool to prevent basement flooding.
Sump pumps work by pumping water away from your home during a heavy rainfall or snow melt. Water gathers in a pit, and when it reaches a certain level, the pump activates and redirects the water.
Weeks emphasizes that having a battery backup system with your sump pump is crucial. If you lose power due to a big storm, and water continues to accumulate around your home, a sump pump that is solely tied to your hydro will be useless.
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Higher and lower temperature extremes
“You want to think about the building envelope,” says Weeks, “meaning the exterior, the roof, the foundation, the walls.”
“Believe it or not, if your home does not have good attic insulation, that can really affect the heating and cooling.”
Heat rises, so hot air will transfer to your attic. Without proper insulation in the colder months, you’ll be running your furnace more as hot air will be escaping through this space.
In the hotter months, if you run an air conditioner, you will be wasting energy to cool down the attic since it is typically much hotter than the rest of your home.
The return you’ll experience on lower electricity and gas bills will help offset the cost of having your insulation upgraded.
While costs for insulation will run about $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot, and the total cost for installation can run anywhere from $1,500 to $6,000. However, you can experience savings of around 15% on your energy bills. Weeks notes that the savings on your bills will pay for the work in three to five years.
Windows and doors
Along with insulation, your doors and windows are foundational to preventing heat loss in your home.
If you feel drafts entering your home, or your home is equipped with older wooden framed windows, chances are you will need to upgrade them.
If the seal around your windows is worn down with age, not only can you experience heating loss, but you may also suffer from water infiltration. This can lead to damage to your home’s foundation, frame and insulation, which will be incredibly expensive to fix.
Other things to look into include the condition of your roof. Having a roofer inspect your roof every few years is beneficial, as they can replace any missing shingles and chimney caps if necessary, and ensure everything is properly sealed.
Finally Weeks recommends having an arborist come by to inspect any large old trees surrounding your home. Older trees may be rotting on the inside, and therefore not as strong as they appear.
If a big storm happens to come through, the tree could be uprooted and crash into your home, resulting in devastating and expensive damage.
Action from knowledge
Possibly the biggest step you can take in preparing our homes for climate change is to keep yourself aware and informed about the condition of your home.
When there is extreme weather, pay attention to potentially problematic areas like windows and doors to determine if action needs to be taken. If you’ve had a property inspection performed, review it to ensure that any major issues have been tended to.
If your property hasn’t been assessed in some time, it could be worth your while to get a home inspection performed. Generally, a home inspection will cost you between $300 to $500 in Ontario, but the price depends on things like the age and size of your home. But ensuring that your home is protected against the elements is well worth the investment.
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