If your basement has never been flooded, you may not know about new trends emerging in the world of insurance. Climate change has increases frequency of extreme events, such as storms and heavy rains. Insurance companies are dealing with a new reality. 50% of their claims in 2010 in Canada were for storm damage (most of which is basement flooding). Main reason for home insurance used to be fire; now flood damage occurrences and costs has left fire damage way behind.
The danger of basement flooding used to be linked to washing machine disasters or broken pipes. Not anymore. Homeowners now face a new problem: municipal sewer system’s lack of capacity to handle the volumes of water that is dumped into it during a heavy rain.
When capacity is reached, water mixed with sewer has nowhere to go but back into the homeowner’s basements.
People who experienced one basement flooding will tell you what a traumatizing and money draining event that was. Grim reality is, city of Toronto rejects 99% of flood damage claims. Another fact is that many people don’t even have flood insurance because they see their homes as immune to flooding.
After the first flooding, many install basement waterproofing devices either by themselves or with a help of plumber.
There are several waterproofing strategies that one can take.
· Firstly, pipe video inspection. If your sewer pipes are old and broken, water will seep into your system and cause bigger damage. Get an all-encompassing view of the state of your home plumbing system before investing money into fixing or protecting it.
· Secondly, consult with a local plumber. Plumbers know what areas are most prone to flooding, and the state of the municipal sewer system in your area. Plumber will help you evaluate whether you need flood protection, what kind will suit your home, and whether you can get any rebates from your city for proactively installing the device.
o Sump pump keeps pumping water out of your basement
o Backwater valve allows drain water to flow only in one direction – out of the house. If water flow changes, backwater valve shuts the opening in the pipe and doesn’t allow it to go into your home.
o If installing a sump pump, we strongly recommend to choose a submersible sump pump even though pedestal sump pump is easier to install and generally is cheaper. The main reason for it is that you can install battery backup. It will kick in if electricity is lost during the storm. We all hear those news about electricity lost during the storm, but we may not link this event to basement flooding. However, if this happens in your area, your sump pump will stop working at the time when you need it the most.
· Choose capacity of your basement flood protection device to prevent overflowing and break up.
o Your flood protection device capacity must be carefully calculated. It is not uncommon for a backwater valve to break under the force of flood water.
· Lastly, have it installed by a professional.
o You may be capable of DYI install, but it may be illegal in your area or not covered by the city rebate or home insurance. You may make a choice to go with easier to install sump pump, and end up miscalculating its capacity. This is the case where stakes are so high that it is better to let professional do the job.
Those who already dealt with basement flooding once or twice don’t sleep during heavy rains. People are watching their basement flood protection systems, ready to act if those systems break under the force of sewage and water.
Municipalities and insurance companies choose different ways to deal with a new reality and an increased number of flood damage cases.
Insurance companies raise flood protection premiums.
Cities initiate environmental studies, budget repair of municipal sewage systems, and educate people about flood damage.
Some cities, like City of Toronto, encourage homeowners to prevent basement flooding by providing significant rebates for installation of sump pumps and backwater valves.
Taking measures to stop basement flooding is a wise and reasonable strategy. Start with consultation with a local plumbing contractor to assess the risks and choose the right way to protect your home, your family, and ultimately, the content of your bank account from the results of flood damage.
Give us a call at 647-287-9589 or 416-519-4919 for plumber in Toronto or GTA to help you find the best basement waterproofing solution. Consultation is free.
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