Winnipeg has seen the wettest spring and summer in recorded history and foundation companies can’t keep up with the calls for help from homeowners.
“Homeowners throughout the city are experiencing issues that perhaps they never had before,” said David Rennie, president of Seal-Rite Foundation Repair.
The city has had well over 620 mm of rain and it isn’t over yet, according to David Phillips, senior meteorologist with Environment Canada.
The previous record was set in 1962 with 624 mm.
“The situation is this: when it rains, boy does it rain.” Phillips said.
We have had four times the normal amount of rain this year, according to Phillips.
“I’ve looked at the last since January and every month, except one, has been wetter than normal.”
‘Perfect storm’ spikes demand for foundation repairs
Over the past few months, the province has seen overland flooding and flash floods and people have reported flooding in their basements.
“The amount of snow we had in the winter and even that large amount of rain we had in the fall, homeowners throughout the city are experiencing water problems that they never even knew they had,” said Rennie.
Foundation repair companies are completely stunned by the amount of rain the city has seen.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this. I’ve been with Abalon for 43 years and we’ve never had a year like this. There’s nothing I can compare it to,” said Gerry Bonham, Abalon Foundation Repairs general manager.
The phones are ringing off the hook and Abalon is not even taking appointments right now for foundation repairs.
“I’m trying to talk to people I know through the issues they have, you know, with water, what to sort of look for, you know, by opening up their walls or looking into their floor drain and make sure that we’ve been told are running,” Bonham said.
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If Abalon had a waiting list, there would be 1,000 people on that list, according to Bonham.
“I don’t even know how many hundreds and hundreds and thousands of calls we’ve got. We get so many inquiries.”
The biggest problem homeowners are facing right now as a result of the intense rainfall is concrete cracking from their house shifting due to the previous dryness and now the soil is absorbing all that water.
“The soil is so saturated, the water’s got really nowhere to go. So those cracks that currently were not an issue or a problem this year are leaking,” said Rennie.
However, If homeowners are experiencing flooding and cannot get ahold of anyone to repair the foundation, there are a few things they can do.
“Make sure that you’ve got fans, air movement, dehumidifiers going,” Rennie said.
“You don’t want to have, you know, mould and mildew starting to develop because that’s, you know, another issue and, you know, just do everything they can to really, you know, minimize the water intrusion problem.”
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Another issue for homeowners is insurance as it is a very complex issue when it comes to flooding and what kind of coverage is available, according to Susan Gilbert, an insurance broker.
“There can be a difference in coverage available from one insurance company to another,” she said.
Where the water comes from tends to be the first discussion point when talking about insurance.
“So the best thing that a consumer can do is talk with their insurance broker and make sure that they really understand what their exposure is,” said Gilbert.
The best line of defence for homeowners is prevention and there are ways to prevent flooding from happening.
“They can have sewer backup coverage often available to them. That means that you’ve put down the mitigation work to be able to have the correct sump pump installed in your home,” Gilbert said.
“Some homeowners will actually add a secondary pump or a motor for the pump, just sitting on the sidelines ready to switch out if they should have a pump failure.”
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