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How to Protect Your Basement From Flooding

May 3, 2019

It’s finally spring. Which means more time outdoors, sitting on patios and enjoying the beautiful weather. Spring also means melting winter snow and more rainstorms, a powerful combo that has become an increasingly hazardous combo for Canadian homeowners.

That is especially true for Canadians with basements. And according to a recent study by Waterloo’s Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, residential basement flooding is on the rise. In one community in Ontario alone, the study found that 3,000 basements flooded in just one year’s time. The average cost to repair a flooded basement is a jaw-dropping $43,000.

Worst yet, because catastrophic flooding has only somewhat recently become a major hazard in the country due to climate change, many homeowners have yet to obtain overland flood insurance. Standard homeowner policies do not generally protect against basements soaked by overland floods, but most of the time they will cover basement flooding caused by a backed up sewer.

Either way, depending on your insurance policy, there may be caps on the amount your policy will pay out to cover the costs of repairing your basement. That is why it is vitally important to take proactive measures to protect your basement from flooding to mitigate the damage in such a scenario.

Keeping up with specific regular maintenance tasks around your home can prevent water from seeping into your basement during heavy rainfall events. Keeping your gutters and downspouts cleaned out year round will ensure water is draining off of your roof property and away from your home. Downspouts should exit at least three feet away from your foundation.

Also, you should inspect the outside walls of your home for any cracks, especially around your basement foundation. Use an epoxy to fill any small cracks you find. Hire a professional to fix any major damage.

Landscape Properly

Check to make sure that the flower beds and landscaping surrounding your home are graded properly. They should slope gradually away from your house, not towards it. If you have issues with water drainage around your home you might consider installing a french drain that will draw water away from your house.

Use Window Well Covers

If you have basement windows that are sunk down below ground level, cap them off with acrylic window well covers. These will go a long way towards helping to water-proof your basement.

Keep Valuables Off the Floor

A finished basement can make the perfect hang out spot. Just be sure to use common sense when decorating or storing items. Use shelving to keep expensive or irreplaceable collectibles at least two feet from the floor.

Take Care of Your Pipes

A backed up sewer is a nasty situation, but taking proper care of your drain lines can save you from dealing with it. Never pouring grease or oils down the drain is one of the most important things you can do. In addition, avoid flushing paper towels or wet wipes down the toilet. Also avoid using a lot of water during heavy rains. It also doesn’t hurt to have your sewer system or septic tank inspected by a pro on an annual basis.

Install a Sump Pump, and Make Sure it Works

A working sump pump installed in your basement will suck out excess water and direct it away from your home. Having one installed is perhaps one of the best ways to prevent basement flooding. However, it won’t help if it fails to switch on due to improper maintenance or lack of power. Be sure to test it periodically and keep the sump pump well clear of debris. Make sure you have a working battery backup or a working generator to provide power in case of an outage.

Get Flood Insurance

Whether you live in an area with a history of floods or not, the threat of overland flooding is an increasing concern. Shop around and consider purchasing a policy to fully protect your basement in the event of a flood. Check your homeowner policy to see if you have enough coverage to protect your basement in the event of a sewer backup. You can compare other home insurance options by visiting InsuranceHotline.com to find the best rates today.