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April 12, 2021

How to Prevent Basement Flooding

Although there are many enjoyable aspects of spring, such as increased daylight and warmer weather, these rainy months can produce unexpected issues in your home. Basement flooding is not uncommon for many Canadians, and having to clean up your basement after heavy rain can be a frustrating, dangerous, and expensive ordeal. In fact, just one inch of water in a home can cost more than $25,000 in damage. However, with a bit of planning and some careful maintenance, you can protect your property and prevent a flooded basement.

What causes a flooded basement?

There are a number of reasons why basements flood, including:

  • Improper sealing on the flooring and walls
  • A clogged gutter system
  • Hot water tank failure
  • Sump pump failure
  • Water supply line failure
  • A sewer backup has occurred

Protect your basement before flooding occurs

It may seem like a hassle now, but it’s important to invest in ways to protect your home. Finished basements used as a living space may contain valuable furniture and electronics that can be damaged or lost during an unexpected flood, contributing to an even greater loss. Furthermore, floods may have long-term health impacts on your family due to mould growth. Here are some quick tips on how to reduce the risk of basement flooding:

1. Never pour fats, oils and grease down your drains

When you rinse fats, oils and grease down your sink, there is a chance that the oils will begin to solidify. As they cool and harden, they can stick to the sides of the pipes. Eventually, these clogs can grow to the point that they restrict the water flow or block it altogether. Furthermore, there is the very real possibility that these clogs can form in the neighbourhood or city sewer line, causing a major sewer backup.

2. Reduce home water use during heavy rains

Heavy rain causes the sewers to fill up. Using a lot of water during heavy rain, such as taking a shower or doing laundry, can contribute to basement flooding. It’s recommended to use less water in extreme weather situations.

3. Keep the storm sewer grates on your street clear of yard waste, leaves, garbage, ice and snow

When storm sewer grates are clogged with debris, less water will be able to enter the sewer system. When this happens, there is an increased chance that it will flow onto private properties and then into homes and basements.

4. Clean and maintain your gutters and downspouts at least once a year

Gutters are designed to collect rainwater from the roof and carry it away from the foundation of the home through downspouts. Since both the gutters and downspouts need to be clear in order to carry out this task, having clogged gutters can cause an overflow of water.

5. Store anything expensive, valuable or irreplaceable upstairs

Basement flooding can lead to considerable damages to your home and the contents within. A good rule of thumb is to store valuable items upstairs, or to pack anything in your basement that can’t/shouldn’t get wet in water-tight containers.

6. Install a sump pump

A sump pump, if installed properly, collects all the excess water surrounding your house. It pumps water out and away from your foundation, helping to keep the area under your home dry. If your area’s water table – the level below which the ground is saturated with water – is above the foundation of your home, a sump pump is recommended.

7. Set up a flood alarm

Flood alarms are small devices installed near your baseboards. They monitor changes in moisture and will notify you if there is water wherever you’ve placed it. While they won’t help with flood prevention, they can reduce damage by catching flooding early and allowing you to manage it before it gets out of hand.


Regardless of whether it’s rain, ice, or snow, your basement should not be leaking and wet every time a weather event occurs. If this is a problem you’re experiencing, consider following our simple tips to protect your home.

Taking the right precautions now can save you from stressful times and financial burdens in the future. Interested in learning more about flooding and flood insurance? Email or give us a call at 1.888.268.2408 to speak with our trusted Ontario Insurance Brokers, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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