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Homeowners invest thousands of dollars to make their homes more attractive or livable. Unfortunately, renovations and upgrades can be quickly damaged or destroyed by basement leaks or sewer backup caused by a rainstorm or rapid snowmelt.

Homeowner on ladder cleaning out eavestrough

In most cases, you can prevent this from happening by taking a few simple, yet effective steps:

  1. Eavestroughs should be cleaned regularly and checked for leaks, poor connections or sagging. They should be inclined so water is quickly sent to downspouts.
  2. Downspouts should exit at a splash pad or be connected to extensions. Extensions should end at least 1. 8 metres (six feet) away from the house and directed to a street or back lane and not a neighbour's yard.
  3. In older neighbourhoods with a sanitary and a storm sewer system, some roof downspouts are connected directly to the underground storm sewer pipe. This is acceptable. In neighbourhoods built before the mid-1960s, downspouts were connected to a combined sewer system. In areas where a separate storm sewer system was added later, homeowners should disconnect the downspouts and direct water onto the surface.
  4. Good lot grading keeps water away from foundation walls and basement windows and reduces the amount of water that seeps into underground weeping tile. Walk around your home and measure the grade from the wall. This includes under steps and decks.
    The soil, lawn or other hard surface should slope downward at a continuous angle for a minimum of five feet. The height at the wall should be at least 4-6 inches higher than the ground five feet away. Grade should be checked regularly as ground settles over time. If necessary, use window wells around basement windows to adjust the grading there.
  5. Waterproof cracks in your foundation walls or sidewalks with silicon. As silicon breaks down, this needs to be redone every three to five years. Inside your home, install a backflow valve. The valve will reduce the risk of sewer back-up.

EPCOR offers a free service that can help you identify drainage problems and solutions right at your home. See the Flood Prevention Home Check-Up page for further details.

Ice Dams (Roof)

Edmonton is a winter city and freeze/thaw cycles are common through the winter months. These freeze/ thaw cycles increase the risk of ice dams or ice build-up on roofs.  Ice dams can cause damage to roofs, ceilings, and walls as well as present a risk of harm from falling icicles. To help prevent this, ensure that the roof/attic is adequately insulated to prevent heat leaks and that there is proper ventilation.


If you have a concern about ice dams, please consult a roofing professional.

For More Information

Drainage Infrastructure

General Information



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