About Your House: Basement Flooding
How to Avoid Basement Flooding:
A Backwater Valve is simply a valve which is installed on your main sewer line to reduce the possibility of
overloaded city sewage from backing up into your house. This valve automatically closes when it senses
sewer water backing up.
The City of Toronto and Peel Region both have rebate programs (other municipalities may have rebate
programs - click here for other municipalities) for installing backwater valves. I highly recommend you
hire a licensed plumber to help evaluate if your a candidate for a backwater valve, your specific
municipalities rebate program may require certain actions on your part prior to any rebates being paid
out. READ THE REBATE REQUIREMENTS PRIOR TO MOVING FORWARD.
I also found an interesting video on maintaining a backwater valve which you should watch. Click here
Downspout's which drain directly underground may allow water to pool around the foundation
which in turn may leak into the basement. Many Municipalities especially in the older
neighbourhoods are requiring home owners and builders to direct all downspout's above ground,
away from the foundation and to ensure that these downspout's do not become a trip hazard and
are not directed to your neighbours house.
Downspout's which are pooling near the foundation can be a major cause of basement flooding an
inexpensive fix can reduce the possibility of a very expensive basement flood, not to mention the
headaches involved in cleanup.
Here is a video of how to redirect an underground downspout, click here.
Grading around the house is very important in reducing basement floods. Grading has a tendency
of settling over the years so when you walk around your house look for areas which have settled
towards the house or dips and flat areas of grading which can allow rain water to pool near the
house or foundation, which is exactly what we are trying to avoid.
Some people like to lay out gravel or cement slabs, some use soil or wood chips after they have
planted shrubs or bushes (hopefully 3-4 feet away from the house). Just keep in mind that whatever
you use or however you improve you should make sure you keep it 6 inches below the house siding
and the grading should drop 6 inches in the first 6 feet away from the home - look at the picture to
your right titled Measure for Proper Grading.
You might have cement or interlock bricks around some areas of your house. These areas should
also have a slight slope away from the house to help with rain water. Also you should look to see if a
gap is present between the cement and house foundation wall. These gaps may allow water to flow
down between the grade and house and possibly into the basement. I would recommend that these
gaps be sealed with a flexible outdoor product to reduce the possibility of water entry. For these
type of cement grades a specialist should be consulted
A sump pump is part of a system which contains an under water pump located inside a circular
container which is typically installed in the basement. This circular container is usually flush with the
basement floor. The outside weeping tile which surrounds the base of the house is connected to
the circular container if and when water enters the weeping tile it may flow to the city and or as well
into the sump pump container and then the sump pump will push it to the outside. It is important to
make sure you regularly check to see if the sump pump works and you might even want a back up
generator/power supply and in some cases a second sump pump depending on the circumstances.
Sump pumps can also be found in houses with basement that are close to high water tables such
as near lakes or streams. They can also be found if a wet basement specialist installs one as part
of a wet basement improvement.
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Disclaimer: This information is provided for general information purposes only. Any reliance or action taken based on the
information, materials and techniques described are the responsibility of the user. Readers are advised to consult appropriate
professional resources to determine what is safe and suitable in their particular case. DASH Inspection Services assumes no
responsibility for any consequence arising from use of the information, materials and techniques described. Any reference to a
specific company is for general information only. I highly recommend you get a min of three quotes and do your homework.