Basement flooding is unfortunately a common occurrence in many parts of Canada. Especially when we have months like this when there seems to be a never ending streak of rainy days.
But the good news is that many types of basement flooding may be avoided. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website offers some practical steps you can take to avoid basement flooding.
How serious is Basement Flooding?
Basement flooding has the potential to be a serious problem, above and beyond the inconvenient mess and disruption of household routine. Chronically wet houses are linked to an increase in respiratory problems, long-term damage to the building and equipment that may not be covered by insurance. Insurance rates may rise to compensate for repeated basement flooding claims, and/or the minimum deductible may be increased significantly.
Property value may depreciate because the basement is prone to frequent flooding. Before appropriate measures can be taken, it is important to identify the causes of basement flooding. These range from problems originating in the individual dwelling to problems associated with the municipal sewer systems that serve entire communities.
Why do Basements Flood?
Water can enter your basement for a number of reasons, it is most likely to occur during periods of heavy rainfall, or when snow is melting rapidly during a spring thaw. In these cases, your basement can be wet because of: a leak or crack in your home’s basement walls; poor lot drainage; failure of the weeping tiles (foundation drains); and overflowing eaves troughs or leaking/plugged downspouts. Basement flooding may also occur because of: a blocked connection between your home and the main sewer in the street; a back-up of wastewater in the sewer system (or a combination of wastewater and rainwater from the sanitary or combined sewer system); and failure of a sump pump (in some areas) used to pump weeping tile water.
Municipalities attempt to prevent flooding by maintaining the public sewer system. Homeowners with private sewage systems (septic tank and field bed) can appreciate the need for regular maintenance, but unforeseen or accidental problems can occur in any type of system.
Practical Measures to Avoid Basement Flooding
Basement flooding problems are best diagnosed by working your way down from the eaves troughs and downspouts, to the lot and foundation drainage, and then to the plumbing system—both inside your home and beyond its connection to the municipal sewer system.
Flooding Eaves Troughs and Downspouts
Water pours out of your eaves troughs into downspouts. If the downspouts are dumping the water right beside your foundation, it drains directly to the weeping tile and can easily overload your home’s drainage.
To find more About Your House fact sheets plus a wide variety of information products, visit the CMHC website at www.cmhc.ca. You can also reach them by telephone at 1-800-668-2642 or by fax at 1-800-245-9274.