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Allison James

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Preparing a Home for the Rainy Season

Heavy rain, view from house window

It’s been nearly a year since the historic Calgary floods of 2013.  A rare combination of weather conditions converged on the frozen ground to create perfect conditions for flooding.  Hopefully, this particular set of weather phenomena will not meet again in our lifetimes. The region’s economy and real estate market took a hard hit but bounced back with a vengeance.  Still, it’s not easy to forget the poignant images of damage and destruction.

No matter where you live, the possibility of water damage always exists – from burst pipes, sewer problems or heavy rains. Even desert areas are susceptible to flash flooding.  Obviously, if you live in a low-lying area in proximity to a body of water, the risk is heightened.  The main thing I tell my clients is to focus on being informed in order to understand the potential risk.  Here are key areas to focus on in looking at a house to buy or protecting a home you already own.

Flood Maps and Insurance

Take a careful look at flood maps to see if the house is in a designated flood zone.  Then talk to your property insurer to see what coverage, if any, is available.  Generally, in Canada, damage caused by overland flooding is not covered by insurance.  This doesn’t mean you can’t buy the house. It’s simply a matter of understanding your risk so you can weigh all factors.

Gutters and Downspouts

Make sure they are present, properly installed and in good working order.  Many gutter and drainage systems require periodic maintenance to remove leaves, debris, etc.  While it may seem obvious, the downspouts need to be directed away from the foundation and extend at least six feet away from the house.


The grading of the soil surrounding the house needs to be raked so that the water runs away from the structure on a gentle slope.  Over time, both the structure and the soil will settle and the grade will need a periodic reevaluation and buildup, as necessary.

Sump Pumps

The basement sump pump and drainage system must be in good working order.  A backup battery or generator to run the pump in the event of a power failure is highly desirable.

Backwater Valves

A properly installed backwater valve can prevent major damage due to a backup from the home’s main sewer line.

In a 2012 publication, the Insurance Bureau of Canada estimated that Canadian insurers pay over $1.3 billion annually in claims relating to water damage.  Unfortunately, that number is now rising. Take a minute to review the available flood plain data and history of the property and understand the limitations and exclusions in insurance coverage.  Most importantly, stay informed!


Do you need to move to celebrate the changes that are happening in your life? Let me serve you in helping you make the move to the place or home that reflects where you are in life’s journey! I will listen to your needs and use my knowledge and expertise to make this a smooth transition to the right place for you to call home in Calgary. Contact me at 403-708-5873,, or and let’s get on with your journey!

About Allison James

has been a realtor® since 1999 with Century 21 Bamber Realty Ltd. in the changing Calgary real estate market. A Century 21 Centurion Award 2007 recipient and a member of CREA and AREA, she specializes in residential real estate and has her designations as a Seniors Real Estate Specialist and a Certified Condominium Specialist. These designations testify that she has the expertise and resources to help her clients make a smooth transition to the next step in their life journey. She enjoys helping her clients as they move through many of the same stages of life that she, too, has experienced. The fact that the majority of her business comes from past clients and/or referrals from satisfied clients speaks volumes about her dedication to the high quality of service that she offers her clients to meet their Calgary and surrounding area real estate needs. She is a mother of four who are all on their own now, and a grandmother of eight. Besides helping people buy or sell real estate, she loves spending time with her family, being active outdoors, traveling and meeting new people, photography, playing the drums, reading, scuba diving, listening to music, learning new things, and nurturing her spiritual growth.

Allison James, Century 21 Bamber Realty Ltd.
1612 17 Ave SW, Calgary, Alberta, T2T 0E3
Tel: 403-245-0773 Toll Free: 403-708-5873 Cell: 403-708-5873 Fax: 403-592-9187
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