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Tips to Beat Winter Groundwater Flooding in London

London bridge in the snow

Tips to Beat Winter Groundwater Flooding in London

Winter is here, which means that most people are preoccupied with shopping for Christmas. It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, and yet many homeowners are unaware of the hidden threats to their homes.

When people think of flooding in London, they imagine the River Thames overflowing. However, there is a greater risk to London properties. Groundwater flooding can happen slowly, with the water table rising over days, weeks, and even months.

The last thing you want at Christmas is to discover groundwater flooding into your home, and here at London Waterproofing Solutions, we have everything you need to protect your home and spot the early warning signs.

What winter means for groundwater

Groundwater recharges over time, with rainfall as one of the most significant contributors to this process during December and March. The water table rises over a long period, often as a result of snow and rain. This means that the risk of groundwater flooding increases in the winter when the UK is more likely to experience heavy rainfall.

According to Statista, the amount of rainfall in the UK has been increasing over the last few years. In 2020, we saw 1,717.4mm of rainfall, a 23.3% increase from the previous year. In the Winters of 2019 and 2020, numerous local authorities issued groundwater flood alerts, including London.

London is at a higher probability of flooding than many other areas of the country, but groundwater poses a significant risk to the city. The capital experiences a lot of heavy rainfall, and areas such as Hammersmith, Fulham, Southwark, and Wandsworth are more prone to groundwater flooding as the water table rises. Since winter is when groundwater recharges the most, this is when homeowners should take steps to protect their properties.

Early groundwater flooding signs

When people think of flooding, they tend to think of rising rivers and placing sandbags at entrances to stop water from coming into the home at street level. It requires a fast response as it happens quickly. Groundwater acts differently, with groundwater flooding occurring sometimes months after a period of heavy rainfall. It often takes homeowners by surprise. However, there are some early warning signs you should look out for.

Listen to your local authority

Local authorities will issue warnings when there are flood risks, including from groundwater. They are responsible for managing the risk of flooding, whether via rivers overflowing or from the water table rising. If your local authority has issued a groundwater flood alter, you should pay attention. They can provide you with guidance to protect your property.

Watch out for damp patches at low levels

Spotting the early signs of groundwater flooding can be challenging, but thankfully one of the most obvious ones is the appearance of damp patches. Any water damage can leave paint, wallpaper, and flooring looking discoloured. The patches will be darker and can be wet to the touch. They’ll often appear at lower levels first as the water finds its way into your home. If you notice patches at low levels in the cellar of your home, you may have a problem with groundwater flooding.

The appearance of water in your basement

Water is the most obvious warning sign to homeowners that there is a problem. With groundwater flooding, this can appear slowly and steadily over time in your basement. For many homeowners, this water appears to have no source. We often look for leaks higher up in properties, turning to pipes or roofs as the cause. Groundwater flooding happens steadily, with the water table slowly rising and raising the levels of water in your home. Any water in your home can be a problem, but especially so in basements.

Protect against groundwater flooding this winter

If you have any below ground structures, such as a basement or cellar, you should assume that flooding poses a risk to your property, and for those living in London, groundwater is the most significant threat. Adding sandbags won’t accomplish anything against groundwater, so it is best to employ either a barrier system or a cavity drainage membrane to prevent groundwater flooding.

Here at London Waterproofing Solutions, we are experts in groundwater flooding and can help you find the right solution for your home with a free no-obligation survey. Book your free survey now to find out which method can best protect your home against groundwater flooding.

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