Maintaining Your Downspouts Can Prevent Basement Water Damage
Spring is here! But sometimes those "spring showers" can be a bit too much! Every home is at risk of basement flooding, even if it has not happened before. Water in your basement is most likely to occur during a heavy rainfall, or when snow and ice is melting.
The good news is that you can take steps to help reduce or prevent it from happening.
The City of Toronto offers a Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy of up to $3,400 per property.
Did you know it is mandatory for all property owners in Toronto to ensure their downspouts are disconnected from the City’s sewer system. During heavy rain, the sewers can become overloaded, which can increase the risk of basement flooding and release of polluted rainwater into local waterways. By disconnecting downspouts and directing stormwater onto the property instead, it can minimize the risk of sewer overloads.
Before starting, consider these important guidelines:
Water should flow away from a building’s foundation.
Ensure flow of water will not cause damage to your neighbour’s property, or onto a driveway or sidewalk.
Use a splash pad to help direct the flow of water and protect against erosion.
Avoid creating a tripping hazard; do not add extensions across a walk-way or in front of a gate or doorway.
Water flow may freeze in the winter; do not create dangerous conditions.
Consider using a rain barrel to capture and store rainwater.
During winter months, remove the rain barrel to avoid freezing and breaking.
After removing the rain barrel, add an extension to the downspout to ensure proper drainage away from your home.
Consider extending downspouts under a deck, patio or to a grassed or garden area.
Consider creating a rain garden or removing hard surfaces surfaces, such as concrete pathways or patios to allow water to infiltrate.
Once you’ve disconnected, cap the sewer connection − the open pipe remaining when the downspout is removed. This prevents water and debris from going in and stops animals from falling into the opening.
Proper maintenance of your eavestroughs and downspouts is important to ensure they are working properly to prevent basement flood damage in Toronto.
Clean eavestroughs at least twice a year, and check all elbows and outlets for debris to prevent clogging.
Fix any leaks and repair any low spots or sagging areas along your eavestroughs. Lastly, make sure all parts are securely fastened.
You can take steps to protect your basement from flood damage. To help you avoid basement flood cleaning in Toronto, it’s a good idea to educate yourself in terms of what steps you can take. Here are some examples:
1. You can prevent foundation wall seepage and basement water damage by installing proper downspouts and ensuring they extend 4' - 6' away from your home.
2. Clear eavestroughs and downspouts of leaves and other debris that prevent drainage.
3. Disconnect your downspouts from the sewer system, where feasible (without negatively affecting neighbouring properties or creating an area where water will pool on a sidewalk or driveway).
4. Make sure your disconnected downspouts are draining properly, ideally two meters from your foundation walls.
5. Ensure the grading around your home slopes away from the foundation wall to help drain water away from your home (without negatively affecting neighbouring properties).
6. Increase the green space around your home with native plants and shrubs and install porous pavement to help absorb rainwater and melted snow.
7. Check the corners of your basement regularly and if the floor is damp/wet, your weeping tiles may not be working properly and may need to be repaired or replaced to stop water damage in your basement.
8. If your weeping tiles are connected to the sewer system, it is recommended that you disconnect it and install a sump pump and/or backwater valve.
Have a Plan Before You Have Water Damage
Steps to disconnect
Measure 23 cm (9 in.) from where the downspout enters the sewer connection.
Cut the downspout with a fine blade hacksaw. Make sure to remove the cut piece and do not drop it down the drain. Use a metal file to remove the rough edge of the downspout.
Be sure to cap the sewer standpipe — the open pipe remaining when the downspout is disconnected. This prevents water from going in. It also stops animals from falling into the opening, getting trapped, and having to be rescued. You can use a simple rubber cap secured by a hose clamp, PVC cap or a wingnut test plug and concrete if available cap sizes don’t fit.
Insert the downspout into the elbow (if you put the elbow into the downspout, it will leak). You may need to crimp the end of the downspout with a pair of pliers to get a good fit.
Attach a downspout pipe extension to carry water away from the house and foundation. You can use a hacksaw to cut the extension to the desired length. Be sure to insert the elbow into the extension to prevent leaks. Drill a hole on either side and secure the elbow and extension with sheet metal screws. To prevent erosion where the water drains, you can place a splash pad at the end of the downspout extension.
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