A basement flood is a horrific experience. Memories and cherished belongings lost or damaged. The security and sanctity of your home violated. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, it costs an average of $43,000 to repair a basement flood. So, definitely not a simple patch and repair job! No one wants a basement flood in Ottawa, so why do they keep on happening?
What Causes Basement Flooding?
Flooded basements can emerge at any given time. Even if you have never had a history of flooding, this disaster doesn’t discriminate. From the rain saturating your soil to your sewage system, water is everywhere, and your basement is underground.
With multiple pipes and passages within older Ottawa homes, there’s a lot of potential for disaster. Thanks to this diagram from the City of Toronto, you can get a better picture of how water can make its way into your home.
Although this is pretty alarming, don’t let it scare you. As there are multiple ways for water to get into your basement, there are numerous ways to keep it out. All it takes is knowing where to look, what to install and how to maintain these safety measures.
8 Steps To Prevent Flooded Basements
Clean Your Gutters
With the buildup of leaves, dirt and debris, your gutter can be a disaster waiting to happen. Cleaning your gutter isn’t just to prevent a basement flood, but is done to keep your home safe from multiple floods. The water in your basement had to come from somewhere and your gutters are your first line of defence in managing the surface water around your property.
To clean your gutters, secure a ladder and scoop out anything that may be up there. With time, your gutters can begin to crack and leak too. Once your gutters are cleaned, place a running hose down various areas of your gutter. Doing so will indicate whether your gutters leak or not.
Clean & Extend Downspouts
After you’ve cleaned out your gutters, turn your attention to your downspouts. You may have noticed the flow of water being slow or weak when testing for leaks or cracks in your gutters. If that’s the case, you probably have a clog in your downspout. The clog will most often be found at the elbow (the part of the downspout attached to the gutter). Use an auger or bent wire to unclog any debris and spray out with your hose until the water flows freely.
If the end of your downspout is off the ground or dumping water directly against your foundation, you need to add an extension. The goal of extending your downspout is to send the water away from your home’s foundation. This is one of the easiest and often most effective ways to prevent basement moisture and flooding. Ensure your downspouts are getting the water far enough away from your house!
Install Window Well Covers
Especially with older homes, water can easily leak from your window wells into your basement, either through cracks in the foundation or from the window itself. A window cover is a plastic shield that covers the window well, keeping water out and directing it to the lawn. If you can see dark stains around your basement windows on the inside, an inexpensive window well cover could prevent further leaks.
Inspect Drain & Septic System
Inspecting your plumbing and drains annually should become a habit made by all Ottawa homeowners. With a drain inspection and septic tank clean, you not only prevent future basement floods but as well as future clogs, water leaks and other plumbing disasters. Rainwater in your basement is a problem – raw sewage in your basement is a whole other level of problem.
Seal Leaks & Cracks
With time, cracks and leaks can begin to creep into your foundation due to age, weather conditions and excess moisture. These cracks and leaks can eventually lead to a flooded basement.
When inspecting your basement and backyard, the telltale signs for cracks and leaks are puddles of water, exterior cracks, and browning around the foundation. If you visually see the crack, use silicone caulk to close it. If you can’t pinpoint the leak, get a plumbing professional to take a look.
Install & Maintain a Sump Pump
Sump pumps are every home’s last line of defence against basement floods. The function of a sump pump is to take water that’s seeped below your foundation, collect it and pump it safely out and away from your home. If you haven’t had a sump pump installed, there are rebates you can apply to through the City of Ottawa to save some money.
But like every shield, without the proper care – it will weaken. Even worse, if your home floods with a malfunctioned sump pump, your insurance won’t cover the damages. Electric sump pumps won’t work if the power goes out – say during a major thunderstorm, exactly when you need it most!
Look into supplementing your sump pump with a battery backup. Maintaining your sump pump should be a habitual task. Next time it rains listen closely to hear your pump start or have a plumber inspect the condition of your sump pump and if it’s working correctly.
Install & Maintain Backwater Valve
From time to time, the Ottawa city sewers can back up due to a high demand of water running throughout the sewer system. When that happens, the sewer water can be pushed back into your home, resulting in a flooded basement.
Installing a backwater valve stops that from happening. When water attempts to pass back into your home, a protective flap slams the main drain section of your system shut, preventing the water from flowing back into your basement. Just like the sump pump, your backwater valve needs maintenance and inspection to ensure proper functioning.
Get Proper Insurance
If worst comes to worst, you want to be protected by insurance. Contact your insurance and find out if you’re covered for flooding damage. The Insurance Bureau of Canada has a step-by-step process of how to begin the claiming process for a flood if you need more information.
Who To Call When Your Basement Floods?
Whether you need a sump pump, backwater valve or drain inspection, Out of This World has got you covered! Our experienced team of plumbers are all certified and background checked, ready to serve Ottawa residents and their plumbing needs.
Give us a call at 613-519-1342 or book a free online appointment to keep your basement flood-free!