Now that spring is just about here – officially starting Thursday March 20th, many homeowners might be delighted to welcome the spring thaw. With the gradual rise in temperatures we here in Toronto are beginning to experience, some of us may be concerned about what effect this winter’s extreme cold and frost has had on their house. Being proactive and conducting spring maintenance tasks is the best way to avoid costly repairs and potential problems like basement flooding. With the spring thaw already starting in most parts of Toronto, melting snow and ice can quickly become a problem for homeowners with [cracked foundations]( or faulty water drainage systems. Here are some essential spring maintenance tips to help you avoid a wet basement:

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Not only do spring showers bring heavy amounts of water through your gutters/eavestroughs and downspouts, rapidly melting snow and ice from your roof create a heavy downpour of water. Cleaning your eavestroughs/gutters and downspouts will help make sure water is directed away from your house, avoiding a wet basement. Since we’ve seen a lot of freezing and thawing this winter in Toronto, that also results in your eavestroughs/gutters expanding and contracting so be sure to have them inspected by a professional to ensure there’s no sagging or dipping. Make sure downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear and free of debris. Hiring a professional eavestrough/gutter cleaning crew is highly recommended as they can spot issues immediately and doing it yourself (especially in a two-story house) can be very dangerous. They may recommend installing gutter guards which will help to keep your eavestroughs/gutters clear of debris, thereby preventing a clog which can result in basement floods as improper drainage can lead to a wet basement or crawlspace.

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Once all the ice and snow are gone and have cleared, you may notice low lying areas of either your font yard or backyard. If these low areas are next to your home’s foundation, they could result in pooling water and should be filled with compacted soil. Spring rains can cause yard flooding, which can lead to foundation flooding and damage to your basement or crawlspace. Also, when water pools in these low areas in summer, it creates a breeding ground for insects. Having your lawn evened and compacted will help to minimize the strain on your weeping tile system, avoiding overloading and potential basement flooding.

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Spring is a great time of year to inspect and conduct maintenance to your basement sump pump. Making sure your sump pump is operating correctly is critical to prepare for heavy spring rains and avoiding basement flooding. It’s also a good idea to install a battery backup pump which will float above the original pump and kick in when the electricity goes out, a common problem during Toronto summers. If your sump pump fails, the backup pump will help protect your basement from the rising water, working to ensure it never reaches the basement floor, moving the unwanted water outside the house. To feel confident that your basement will stay dry, the sump pump backup will be a great measure to waterproof your basement.