After a long and unpredictable 2020, many families are looking forward to taking a break from the chaos by celebrating the holidays at home. But nothing ruins a relaxing Christmas or Hanukkah faster than a backed-up sewer, a leaking foundation, or a flooded basement.
In many parts of the United States and Canada, the autumn has been unpredictable, with warm days punctuated by heavy rains and snowfall. This creates the perfect conditions for basement flooding, as the rapid alternation between warm and cold, mixed with the precipitation, can leave the earth around your foundation soggy and saturated.
If you have a wet basement in Toronto and you want to make sure a sudden storm doesn’t upend your holiday plans, here are three ways you can get proactive about basement maintenance.
1. Inspect Your Sump Pump
With weather conditions changing every day, it is possible that your sump pump is no longer able to keep up — either because it is old or because expansions to your home over time have meant the pump has to work harder.
Sump pumps are standard in new homes regardless of location, but if you don’t have a sump pump, installing one should be a major priority. Sump pumps play a crucial role in keeping the area underneath your house dry, which in turn helps avoid flooding caused by rising water underneath your foundation.
2. Check Your Foundation for Cracks
Cracks in the foundation are one of the main ways that water gets into your living space. Even a small seam can lead to damp walls and uncomfortable humidity, and over time these gaps widen and can lead to serious water damage.
The easiest way to check your foundation for cracks is to hire a contractor who specializes in basement waterproofing to inspect your basement. Professional contractors can usually tell fairly quickly whether moisture build-up is being caused by damage to the foundation and can advise you on options for patching small cracks before they become a major headache.
3. Install a Backwater Valve
If you live in a city or suburb, your house’s drainage system is designed to channel water and waste from your sinks, toilets, and downspouts into the municipal sewers. Unfortunately, in many large cities, sewer enlargement and repair have not kept pace with new developments, meaning they can quickly become overwhelmed by a sudden influx of water during a storm.
This causes an unpleasant process by which sewers that are supposed to be ferrying water away from your home back up, pushing waste-water into your home. The best way to protect against this is by installing a backwater valve that will close automatically when water starts flowing up the pipe toward your house.
For many families, the best thing about the holidays is simply the opportunity to relax with loved ones over good food.
If you want to ensure that you’ll spend your Christmas or Hanukkah curled up on the couch chatting about the latest Netflix show rather than wading through waste-water, making sure that your foundation is solid and your drainage system is working properly is essential.