Whether it was the torrential rains and unusually warm winter that left Toronto Island flooded in 2017, or the approximate 50 – 100 millimetres of rain that fell in a few hours to cause the Toronto flooding in August, it seems as though floods and basement water damage is an ongoing concern for many. And with the average cost of restoring a basement after water damage averaging $42,000, it’s important that homeowners do everything they can to protect themselves, and their home.

Common Causes Of Basement Water Damage

As briefly mentioned previously, there are a lot of reasons for why basements suffer from water damage. While weather causes some, some are still caused because of poor maintenance to homes, or by not improving a homes functionality to better deal with the changing climate. Among the many reasons why basement water damage occurs, below are the most common found by the Insurance Bureau of Canada;

  • The improper disposal of materials such as fats, oils, grease, or diapers down a sink or toilet,
  • Growing tree roots causing cracks in the foundation as well as tree roots growing through cracks in the foundation, or waterlines to cause blockages,
  • An overloaded sewer and stormwater infrastructure,
  • Frozen or cracked water pipes,
  • And illegal hook-ups that allow excess water into lines (specifically ones that should not be connected to the sewer system such as stairwell drains, sump pumps and downspouts).

Signs Of Water Damage

Did you know that basement water damage doesn’t only appear as the obvious sight of pooling water on your floor? In many cases, it can be much less obvious, leaving you at risk for structural problems if the water damage begins to harm the foundation or walls, as well as dangerous mould or bacteria that begins to grow in moist environments. Common signs that are not always obvious are;

  • Discolouration or stains on your drywall and panelling, or even peeling drywall and paint,
  • Warped panels and drywall or other changes in texture,
  • Cracks in walls that can sometimes allow for water to seep through,
  • And the sight of mould or the smell of a musty odour caused by moisture.

How To Mitigate Water Damage

Have A Working Backwater Valve

Does your home have a backwater (or commonly known as backflow) valve? If you’re unsure, it’s important to confirm as it’s a device that prevents outbound water from re-entering a home through drain pipes. More specifically, it helps to ensure that used water from sinks, showers, or even toilets do not back up into your home as raw sewage through toilets, showers and drains to cause basement water damage. Ensuring that you have a working backwater valve can help reduce the likelihood of flooding that may occur from large amounts of rain or snow if sewer lines are unable to handle the amount of precipitation.

Protect Your Foundation

Downspouts are extremely important for homes because it acts as a way to carry rainwater from a roof, to ground level, and away from the home. With this being said, it’s important for homeowners to ensure that their gutters are not only cleaned regularly so precipitation can flow freely, but for the downspout to extend at least six feet from the foundation of the home. This is to prevent it from seeping down into the foundation. As well, it’s important to have proper grading around the home, so water runs away from the building rather than allowing it to pool near your dwelling. Limiting the likelihood of basement water damage occurring.

Do You Have A Working Sump Pump?

Sump pumps are some homeowners heroes when they encounter a basement flood or leak as the device will work to pump the water out from the lowest section of your dwelling. But, what many homeowners forget to check, is whether there are possible complications that could arise. Specifically, what would happen if the battery life of the sump pump failed, or if there was a power outage? With this being said, it’s important to ensure that your sump pump will work at all times, so it’s recommended for there to be an extra power source available such as a backup generator or batteries, in addition to a full charge. And with any piece of equipment, it’s recommended to properly maintain the pump to ensure it’s not only properly working, but it is in fact, charged and ready to go if your basement begins to fill with water.

Basement Water Damage And Your Insurance

Last, but not least, it’s important that you understand your homeowner’s insurance and what it does, or does not cover. Depending on the loss, or how exactly the water entered your home, you may find that your basic policy does not offer enough, or any coverage at all. So it’s crucial that you contact your Cambridge Insurance broker today to learn in detail about your coverage and how you may be affected if you suffer from basement water damage. You may find that you’ll want to purchase additional coverage to protect your home better.