I also found an interesting video on maintaining a backwater valve which you should watch. Click here
Downspout's that are directed underground and or which pool water near the foundation can be a major cause of basement flooding. Redirection of a downspout is typically an inexpensive fix. There are companies who can redirect your downspout's or you can do it yourself...check out the YouTube video.
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.
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 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 or click here to watch a video..
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 or 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 pump and or even a back up battery in case the power goes out. Usually homes located near lakes and streams or a re prone to flooding have back up generators, batteries and pumps.
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.
Again there may be susbidies/rebates for installation of a sump pump - City of Toronto, Halton Region, Region of Peel and City of Vaughan. You may also want to check with your specific Municipalities Basement Flooding Programs, they may have rebates on sump pumps. Make sure you read and understand the details.