preventing water damage in your basement


Potential causes of water seepage into the basement:

Ground sloping in the wrong direction


If the ground around your house slopes down toward the building, water will flow toward the foundation. 

Water can then seep through a crack or other opening.

    • Gutters that aren't doing their job

Gutters are designed to direct water away from the foundation. Keeping gutters clean and properly connected (using a downspout extension, for example) ensures that they work properly.

    • Basement windows that leak or are too close to the ground

To prevent water from seeping through the windows, make sure they're properly sealed and are at least 20 cm above the outdoor ground level. If not, window wells should be added.

    • Problems with the foundation

Seek the advice of a contractor if cracks more than 3.2 mm wide appear in the foundation or if you see efflorescence (white rings) on the interior walls of your unfinished basement.

    • Defective subsoil drainage pipe

The subsoil drainage pipe (foundation drain or weeping tile) drains excess groundwater from around the foundation. If water seeps in where the basement walls and floor meet, it may be a sign that your subsoil drainage pipe is obstructed. You should seek the advice of a foundation expert.

    • Defective retention tank (holding pond or sump)

The retention tank is located in the basement. It temporarily holds water coming from the subsoil drain before releasing it into the building's drainage system. If it's not working properly, it may overflow.

One of the main causes of sewer backups is:

    • A poorly maintained backwater valve

Most homes have a backwater valve. This essential component of your plumbing system is designed to prevent sewers from backing up into your plumbing fixtures. Once you've found the valve in your basement, check the condition of the flap and clean it if necessary.


Water damages caused by Plumbing fixtures

You should check the following components and fixtures in your plumbing system:

  • Main water supply

 As soon as you see water damage (e.g., water leaking from a toilet, washing machine, dishwasher, water heater, etc.), your first reaction should be to shut off the water supply. Shut off the water near the appliance, or shut off the main water supply in the basement.

  • Washing machine

Water pressure in the hot and cold water hoses causes them to wear down over time. At the first sign of wear, replace them with braided steel hoses. Turning off the taps after each wash is also a good way of preventing serious water damage.

  • Dishwasher

Water supply and drainage hoses can wear down over time and cause leaks. You should also check that the gasket around the door is clean and in good condition.

  • Water heater

Water heaters should be replaced at the first sign of deterioration (e.g., rust, seepage, etc.). You may also want to install a leak detector; a device which will automatically shut off the water supply at the source.

  • Outdoor faucet

Before winter, shut off the outside water supply and remove the hose. Conventional faucets should be drained first to prevent the pipes from freezing. See the illustrated sheet for an explanation of how to do this.

  • Galvanized steel pipes

Houses built in 1950 and earlier often have galvanized steel pipes. Since they last about 40 to 50 years, they should be replaced.

  • Pipes during a prolonged absence in winter

If the power goes out during a severe cold spell, your pipes could freeze and burst. If you leave home for more than a week, ask someone to stop by once a week to make sure the heat is on, or drain the pipes before leaving.



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Arun Chaudhary

Arun Chaudhary

Sales Representative
CENTURY 21 Green Realty Inc., Brokerage*
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