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Easy Steps To Protect Yourself From Basement Flooding

Sealing cracks in foundation walls and basement floors is a simple way to help reduce basement flooding. In many cases, cracks can be effectively sealed from inside and will not require digging anywhere besides the foundation to repair them.

Disconnect your downspouts, add extensions and a splash pad. Downspouts are designed to convey water from eavestroughs and down the side of the house. Downspouts often direct water to the surface of the lot, but they may also be connected to the weeping tile or the sanitary sewer lateral. Downspout extensions should be directed at least 1.8 meters (6 ft) away from the home, and the flows should be directed over permeable surfaces such as lawns or gardens, and not paved surfaces including driveways or walkways. 

When connected to the municipal sanitary sewer system, eavestrough downspouts can contribute a substantial amount of water to these systems. Because of the environmental impacts resulting from combined sewer overflows and the increase in basement flooding risk that connected eavestroughs cause, it is illegal to connect downspouts to municipal sewer systems in many Canadian communities. 

Talk to your municipal government before you take any downspout-related steps just to make sure you are within the limits of the law.

3 Steps To Protect Yourself From Basement Flooding

1. Talk to your local government

Visit your municipal government’s website or contact the public works, utilities or building department to find out about their programs on reducing basement flooding.
- What advice do they offer?
- Are there engineering studies on your subdivision?
- How do you report basement flooding to them?
- What does your local government suggest you do?
- Do they offer any financial assistance programs for plumbing installations?
- Do they recommend contractors or plumbers?
- What permits do you need in order to begin?

2. Talk to your insurance broker

Find out about the types of water damages that are covered under your policy. Trying to make a claim after you have suffered water damage is not a good way to find out that you don’t have the proper coverage, or that overland flooding is uninsurable.

3. Hire a plumber to conduct a plumbing investigation of your home

Each home is unique. A plumber or contractor who is fully versed in the home and municipal drainage systems can help you protect your home. Understanding the risks of basement flooding and the nature of your plumbing and sewer connections will help to ensure the best course of action is taken to reduce future water damage in your home. Your municipality may help you find a plumber. Permits may be required for these drainage improvements and your municipality can help in this regard.

Beating Basement Flooding

Start reducing your risk of basement flooding!

The first step in dealing with basement flooding comes from minimizing the risk through a few precautions:

- Reduce home water use during heavy rains.

- Keep the storm sewer grates on your street clear of yard waste, leaves, garbage, ice, and snow.

- Clean and maintain your eavestroughs and downspouts at least once a year.

- Store anything expensive, valuable or irreplaceable upstairs.

Of course, if you have had water in your basement in the past, more significant steps are needed to protect your home. While it may seem onerous, here are a few reasons why you should give it some serious thought:

- If water has gotten into your home before, unless you take action, it can get in again.

- Finished basements used as living space may have more furniture and expensive electronics, increasing the risk for potential damage.

- Overland flood damage is not covered by your home insurance policy. A small expense now can save you a lot of money in case of a flood.

- Floods can cause mold to grow, which can result in negative long-term health impacts on your family.

- Homes in older neighborhoods are usually more vulnerable than homes in newer neighborhoods.

- Climate change experts report that severe rainstorms are occurring more often in many parts of Canada, and they are expected to continue to increase in frequency and severity.