How to Prevent a Basement Flood and What to Do If It Happens
Ensure you know what to do in an emergency to help avoid property damage , from precautions to getting a sump to dealing with a flood if it happens despite your best efforts.
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8 Precautions you can take to Avoid or Reduce Basement Flooding
- Seal all cracks or openings in and around your basement walls, floors and window wells.
- Clear leaves, nests and muck from blocking eavestroughs and downspouts so rainwater can adequately drain.
- Get a dehumidifier for the basement – especially for humid months – this won’t prevent flooding, but it will keep your basement drier.
- Find out if the grading around your home slopes properly away from the foundation so that water drains away from it.
- Avoid clogging toilets, sinks or bathtubs with items that don’t belong down the drain, including cooking grease, coffee grounds, bones, eggshells, food, gum, paper towels, baby wipes, feminine products, cotton swabs, cat litter, cosmetics, paint and car fluids.
- Ensure your plumbing and drainage throughout your property and home are in good working order. This may involve contacting a qualified plumber to help you understand how your plumbing and drainage systems work and offer solutions to make flooding less likely.
- Install a backwater valve – this device prevents sewage in an overloaded main sewer line from backing up into your basement. Check if your municipality offers rebates for this precautionary measure as part of their flood protection programs. If you have a backwater valve, have it inspected regularly to make sure it’s still working.
- Inspect laundry hose bibs – if you have old rubber hoses that connect the water to your washing machine, there’s a chance they could burst. Check for bulges. It’s best to upgrade to more durable braided water supply lines.
Do you need a Sump Pump?
Even without a catastrophic flood in your basement, water and moisture may still be slowly seeping in from outside, particularly if you’re in an area with a high water table. Besides the obvious damage and inconvenience water can cause to your investment, continual moisture in your basement can result in mould and, with it, potential health problems for you and your family.
An electricity-powered sump pump housed below your basement floor can automatically pump rising water and drain it away from the foundation to help keep your basement dry.
If you have a sump pump, it’s a good idea to check it periodically to make sure it’s in good working order – monthly if it disposes of water from a washing machine, and once a season otherwise. In both cases, the pump screen or inlet opening should be cleaned.
Have your sump pump inspected by a professional once a year for:
Alarm: If your pump has one, it should be tested.
Check valve: This can help prevent water from flowing back after it’s pumped out.
Backup power: The last thing you want during a flood-related power outage is for your pump to stop working – you should have a battery-powered backup sump pump
Pit: The hole the pump sits in needs to be deep and wide enough for the machinery to work properly
Discharge location: It’s recommended that the area where pumped water is discharged is at least 6 meters (20 feet) from other homes, so water doesn’t drain into neighbouring properties.
If you think you need a replacement sump pump or want to learn more about a backup sump pump, a Reliance™ plumber can provide expert advice and installation.
What to do if your Basement Floods
Safety should always be your number one priority if you experience flooding in your basement:
- Keep your family and pets away from the flooded area.
- Turn the water off to your home to help prevent further damage
- If the leak is not easily identifiable or you suspect it is a sewer back up you can Call 311 or your city’s water services department – they’ll try to determine the cause of the flooding and provide suggestions.
- Consider shutting off the electrical power if it’s safe to do so and, if you use gas and smell it, leave right away and contact your gas company.
- Call your home insurance company to report possible property damage and follow their instructions, including taking photos and holding onto receipts for any emergency repairs or clean-up you may have to pay for.
Call a Licensed Plumber
At Reliance, we not only fix plumbing problems, but we can also help you avoid them. You’ll also receive one-year parts and labour warranty coverage.*
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