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For help financing your flood prevention projects, check out the home renovation credit solutions available.

10 Ways to Protect Against Basement Flooding

Flooding is on the rise in Canada.

With the average cost of a flooded basement rising to $40,0001, it’s important to take the right precautions.

Approach basement flood protection the way you would fire safety. By making a few easy home upgrades and conducting seasonal maintenance checks, you’ll greatly reduce your risk of costly water damage.

Many cities will even help offset the costs. Search “home flood protection subsidies” to find out about what’s available in your area.

Outside your home

1. Remove debris from the nearest storm drain

Why
Leaves, snow, and garbage can clog the drain and cause water to back up on to your property.

Tip!
Fall is a good time as we tend to get more storms then.

Cost
$0

How-to
Sweep and remove debris as needed. If this doesn’t address pooling, contact your City for repair.

2. Correct grading to direct water away from foundation

Why
Pooling water can seep through foundation cracks or window seals.

Tip!
Look to see where water is pooling on a rainy day.

Cost
Less than $50

How-to
Correct grading for at least 2 meters (6 feet) around the foundation of your home (driveways, gardens, lawns) so water flows away from the foundation.

3. Disconnect and extend downspouts

Why
Downspouts connected to your home’s drainage system can increase the risk of sump and sewer backup.

Tip!
To prevent clogging, clear debris from eavestroughs in Spring and Fall.

Cost
Less than $50

How-to
Consult with your municipality to see if downspout disconnection is right for your home. If so, cut downspout, cap drain and attach a minimum 2-meter (6-foot) extension.

4. Seal basement windows and install window well covers

Why
Water can fill window wells and flow through cracks around the windows.

Tip!
Consider installing plastic covers over window wells to further reduce risk.

Cost
Variable

How-to
Repair and/or replace window seals, glass and frames.

5. Repair cracks in foundation walls

Why
Cracks can let in rain and snow.

Tip!
Shovel snow at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from foundation in winter.

Cost
Variable

How-to
Check and repair cracks in spring and fall.

Inside your home

1. Install a sump pit and pump

Why
Sump pumps collect water from the foundation exterior and pump it farther away.

Tip!
Already have a pump? Buy a backup power supply. Power often goes out when you need the pump most!

Cost
Pump and pit: variable
Backup power kit: less than $250

How-to
Work with a professional to determine if a sump pump is right for you. If so, remember to test every season.

2. Install a backwater valve

Why
This will prevent wastewater from entering your home during severe weather.

Tip!
Keep fats, oil and grease out of your sink to prevent clogging.

Cost
Less than $50

How-to
Check with a plumber to determine if a backwater valve is right for your home. If so, clean and test it every Spring and Fall.

3. Maintain your sewer pipe

Why
A well maintained sewer pipe will help make sure sewage flows away from your home—not back into it.

Tip!
Keep fats, oil and grease out of your sink to prevent clogging.

Cost
$200 to $300

How-to
Hire a qualified professional to complete a sewer camera inspection if:
• Sewer backup occurs already or
• Your home is more than 25 years old.
Have them repair, replace, or line as needed.

4. Keep a clear path to the floor drain

Why
This ensures water has a path to escape.

Tip!
Pour a bucket of water down to make sure it drains freely.

Cost
$0

How-to
Remove objects that block the path of water to the drain. Inspect it every season to make sure there’s standing water in it.

5. Store electronics and valuable items in waterproof containers

Why
Keep your possessions ‘high and dry.’

Tip!
Remove the most valuable items from the basement. Select water resistant and washable furnishings.

Cost
$50 to $100

How-to
Pick water-resistant containers, and store off the floor.

Note: Each home is unique and not all actions will be applicable at each home. Consult with qualified professionals where necessary.

Sources
Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation and University of Waterloo.
1. 2017, Insurance Bureau of Canada, Preventing Disaster Before It Strikes, http://www.intactcentreclimateadaptation.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/ 10/Preventing-Disaster-Before-it-Strikes.pdf