Winter is here on Vancouver Island and so far, it’s been very wet. Drainage and remediation companies are being run off their feet responding to calls from homeowners whose basements have flooded after recent storms.

“We’ve seen a lot of heavy rain recently, just before Christmas there was a big deluge,” said Shawn Robinson, project manager with Victoria Drain Service.

That rain has caused a lot of basements in the Capital Region to flood.

“We are extremely busy, scheduling three to four months out right now,” said Robinson.

He says there are some things that you can do to keep your house dry throughout the winter.

“Gutters are an important thing to keep clean,” said Robinson. “What we have to remember is everything that comes down off the roof, down the downspouts, goes into the perimeter drain system in the bottom.”

If your gutters are full of leaves, some of that debris will find it’s way into your perimeter drains.

“A camera inspection of the perimeter drain system is always a good start,” said the project manager. “That will tell us what type of tile is below grade and the condition of it.”

That inspection will cost you $285. If you live in an older home, you may have clay tile drain. That is not a good thing.

“It’s difficult to gain access to it and it’s difficult to get it clean,” said Robinson.

An upgrade to your drainage system could run you anywhere between $15,000 to $40,000, depending on the size of the job.

“A basement flood – just the emergency services alone – the drying, the removal of the water, the extraction and cleaning, you’re looking at $10,000 to $15,000,” said Jeremy Baker, general manager of remediation company Paul Davis Victoria.

If your house does experience a flood, there’s a good chance your floors are a total loss. Drywall can be dried, but exterior walls pose a problem.

“Exterior walls, they sometimes have insulation in them which might get wet,” said Baker. “If it does get wet behind, we prefer to remove the drywall given that your R-rating might be effected.”

Baker says it’s best to get on top of any remediations quickly, before mold growth begins.

“That could happen within the first 24 hours of the flood,” said Baker. “If it’s a cleaner water, it takes about 72 hours.”

So, to avoid water damage to your home, Robinson has one major tip.

“Maintenance. It’s all I can stress – maintenance, maintenance, maintenance.”