Basement flooding is more common than you think, and can lead to some serious damage in your home. As a homeowner, you never want to experience this type of scenario, but it does happen. However, there are many preventative steps you can take to help prevent basement flooding. Let’s take a look at some of our tips below.

Know your plumbing

Every home is different, and you’ll need to make sure your home is equipped with the right system to help prevent basement flooding. Make sure you know what type of system you are dealing with so that you can help reduce the risk of your basement flooding. One of the most essential things for a homeowner is to know the plumbing system within your property line. However, if that’s not your strong suit, you can always contact a trained, licensed plumber if you want a professional opinion.

Steps you can take to prevent basement flooding

Along with damaging property, basement flooding can cause long-term health impacts to you and your family. Here are nine cost-effective ways to reduce the risk of your home being flooded:

1. Do a search for cracks

Make sure to survey your house for cracks in the walls, windows, and foundations. Ensure to check both inside and outside of your home!

2. Keep your grates clear to prevent basement flooding

Check out the storm grates around your home. Ensure no leaves or debris are blocking the grates to avoid flooding. This is a good idea to check both before a storm hits and after a large one has passed.

3. Cleaning and maintenance of eavestroughs and downspouts

Don’t forget to keep up the maintenance of your eavestroughs and downspouts at least once or twice a year. Be sure to position downspouts away from the home’s foundation to avoid any added risk of flooding.

4. Store your valuables

Store anything expensive, valuable or irreplaceable off the ground and at high level. For extra avoidance, keep valuables out of the basement entirely, if possible. It is always smart to keep anything valuable above ground, or invest in a shelving system to keep items off the floor.

5. Protect your windows 

Installing window well covers is an effective and inexpensive measure to waterproof your basement.

6. Watch your water usage to prevent basement flooding

Try to reduce your water usage during heavy rain. Hold off on doing your laundry or running your dishwasher, as both can increase the risk of a flood. Wait for at least a few hours after heavy rainfall to complete these tasks.

7. Have a backup pump to prevent basement flooding

Maintain your sump pump! Consider investing in a generator so the pump will continue to work, even if you lose power. This is very important to consider! Why? Because sump pumps will greatly reduce the risk of flooding in your basement. However, proper maintenance is crucial for an insurance claim. If you have to deal with basement flooding because of a broken or neglected sump pump, your property insurance may not be able to cover the damage.

8. Add extra precaution to prevent basement flooding

Installing a backwater valve is super important. Make sure that if you do choose to install one, that it follows the rules of your local municipality.

9. Be careful what you pour down the drain

Make sure to never pour fats, oils or grease down your drains. It may cause a sewage backup because they can solidify and accumulate within your plumbing system over time. You can learn more about what not to flush or pour down the drain here, and how to properly dispose of these items.

10. Get an inspection done by a licensed plumber

Get a plumber to conduct a survey of your home.

11. Grade your lawn away from your home

Make note of where your lawn may dip or slope towards your home’s foundation, and make landscaping changes, where possible.

12. Inspect your sewer and septic systems to prevent basement flooding

Debris build-up, clogging, and overflowing are all possibilities with lack of proper maintenance.

13. Increase the green space around your home

Do so with native plants and shrubs. Installing plants and porous pavement around your home can help absorb rainwater and melted snow.

Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program

During heavy rain, the sewers in your neighbourhood can become overloaded. It is essential that you take appropriate action to reduce the risk of your basement flooding in your home. The City of Toronto offers owners of single-family, duplex or triplex residential homes a subsidy to further help prevent basement flooding. You may qualify for a subsidy of up to $3,400 per property to install flood protection devices.

Eligible work includes:

  • Installation of a backwater valve
  • Installation of a sump pump
  • Severance and capping of a home’s storm sewer or external weeping tile connection

To learn more about the Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy program, apply online.

Understanding your policy

Overland water coverage a.k.a. ‘Flood insurance’

Many insurers now offer you residential overland flood coverage, or “flood insurance.” This coverage can also be combined with sewer backup coverage, both of which are completely optional. Even if you don’t live by a lake or river, flood damage and basement flooding is not completely out of the cards. Check with your isure representative regarding the cost and availability for additional home insurance add-ons. Here are some examples of what is covered with flood insurance:

  • Rain accumulation on the surface that enters through basement windows or a crack in an above-grade basement wall
  • Rain accumulation on the surface and entering through the garage door
  • Sewer backup due to heavy rain and surface water entering the home
  • Sewer backup due to the overflow of a body of freshwater or lake (oceans not covered)

Purchasing Flood insurance

Read your policy carefully and consult with your isure broker about whether you should consider buying flood insurance. You can purchase overland flooding coverage if you live in an area designated as a ‘flood zone’. If you have an all-risk or comprehensive policy, there is coverage for all types of water damage, except those your insurer will specifically mention.

isure can help with all of your flooding concerns when it comes to home insurance. We hope our above article helped you better understand how to prevent basement flooding in your home. We offer no-obligation insurance quotes and can assist with all of your homeowners insurance needs, so feel free to contact isure today!

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