SPM - Prevent Basement Leaks and Floods

With snow storms, freezing rain, cold one day, mild the next, heavy rain and general random Canadian weather during the “winter” season, one thing is for sure – all that water has to go somewhere.

Here are some tips and general information to help keep that water from getting into your home in the form of basement leaks. Keep in mind, a small leak can eventually become a small flood. Water damage is a serious problem and most people are not aware of the heath risks involved due mould and fungus behind your walls not to mention the potentially high costs of repairing foundation issues and interior damage.

Related Article: Winter Preparation Tips

FROM OUTSIDE THE HOUSE

Keep Water Out

  • Ensure the grading around your home slopes away from the foundation wall to help drain water away from your home (without negatively affecting neighbouring properties).
  • Clear eavestroughs and downspouts of leaves and other debris that prevent drainage.
  • Disconnect your downspouts from the sewer system, where feasible (without negatively affecting neighbouring properties or creating an area where water will pool on a sidewalk or driveway).
  • Make sure your disconnected downspouts are draining properly, ideally two metres from your foundation’s walls.
  • Ensure the grading around your home slopes away from the foundation wall to help drain water away from your home (without negatively affecting neighbouring properties).
  • Seal cracks or leaks in walls, floors, windows and foundations, and seal all window wells.
  • Increase the green space around your home with native plants and shrubs and install porous pavement to help absorb rainwater and melted snow.
  • Repair or replace damaged weeping tile systems.
  • Safely clear debris from roadside catchbasins (grates) to help water enter the stormsewer.
  • Ensure drainage swales (shallow ditches) between properties are maintained and clear of obstructions.

Further Reading: The Importance of Property Inspections

FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE

Understand your Plumbing

Homeowners are responsible for plumbing inside the home. You can hire a licensed plumber who conducts specialized testing or inspections, if needed, to help you identify the location and condition of key features of your household plumbing system:

  • Sewer service pipe (connects the plumbing in your home to the main sewer on the street).
  • Storm sewer pipe.
  • Backwater valve or sump pump; understand how to keep a sump pump maintained, and operational during power outages.
  • Weeping tiles; identify their condition and where they are connected (a weeping tile is a perforated pipe that runs around your foundation to collect groundwater. Where the groundwater goes once collected depends on your home’s drainage system).

Maintain your Plumbing System

Ensure that your plumbing and drainage systems are in good working order and understand how they function and how to maintain them.

  • Fix cracks, blockages or other condition problems.
  • Avoiding creating clogs:
    • Do not flush dental floss, Q-tips or other personal care products (i.e. “flushable” wipes, condoms or tampons). These should be disposed of in the appropriate bin.
    • Never pour fats, oils and grease down the drain. Dispose of small amounts in your green bin with material to absorb it.
  • Hire a City-licensed plumber to install a backwater valve and a properly-sized sump pump and piping. Ensure proper and regular maintenance of these devices in your home. Sump pumps need power to operate, so consider installing a back-up power source.

We hope this article has been helpful. SPM has licensed and professional plumbers, grounds maintenance and foundation specialists ready to service your property. Our clients enjoy property inspections every 5 days to ensure these exterior elements are maintained and in good working order.

If you would like us to help you inspect these elements and components, please let us know. If you are experiencing a water leak, please submit a maintenance request below.

Maintenance Request

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