With a record number of large storms slated for North American landfall this summer, many of you will be knee deep in water as your basements flood. Basement flooding is a common problem when storm waters overwhelm city sewers and drainage systems. A flooded basement can cost thousands of dollars and may lead to secondary problems such as damaged foundations and mold. There are many precautionary measures you can take to mitigate basement flooding during stormy weather.
Homes built after the 1970’s are required to have a backwater valve and sump pit drainage system. The invaluable function of a backwater valve is to prevent overflowing sewers from backing up into your basement. When water levels rise and overwhelm the sewer systems, homes which are not equipped with backwater valves are in for a rather unpleasant surprise.
A backwater valve alone is not enough to prevent overflowing sewers from backing up and flooding your basement. This is because the tiles surrounding the backwater valve cannot drain when the valve is closed and this can cause the water to enter your basement through the floor drain. This is where a sump pit drainage system comes in.
The function of the sump pit is to collect water that seeps through the tiles surrounding the backwater valve which is then pumped outside with a sump pump. The water must be pumped into your garden where it can be absorbed as it may not be pumped into neighboring properties or the surrounding environment. Regularly check that your backwater valve and sump pit drainage system are in good working order.
Consider an alternate source of power for your sump pump. During heavy storms, electricity often fails at the exact time when you need your sump pump most.
Build up the ground around your home so that water runs away from your foundations. Check this regularly as pavements, patios and decks may settle and water can run back to your basement rather than off onto your lawn and garden.
Clean gutters and downspouts to ensure that water is properly drained away from the house. Consider extending downspouts to move water further away from your home’s foundations. Ensure that your drainage systems don’t drain into neighboring properties.
Ensure that there are no leaks in the walls and floor and that the windows and that vents and doors are properly waterproofed.