Flooding can cause very expensive damage. It doesn't even take a major storm to create this nightmare. A light rainstorm coupled with poor drainage or foundation damage or a leaking pipe is just as likely to cause extensive, costly damage to your home.
In most cases, it's our basements that are affected. Some homeowners suffer frequent basement flooding, while others could go years without a drop of water breaking through, only to suffer a sudden and drastic flood when least expected.
If you're wondering how to stop a basement flooding, keep reading. We’ll offer you some reasons why your Ottawa basement is flooding and what you can do about it.
Rethink Your Current Landscaping
Have you noticed that your neighbours aren't suffering from the same flooding problems? Or do you feel that the amount of rain you're getting shouldn't be enough to flood your basement?
If you answered 'yes' to either of these questions, your home's landscaping could actually be to blame.
Landscaping that causes water to pool or run towards your home rather than draining safely away can cause water to make its way into cracks in your foundation, through unsealed windows, or elsewhere. Even if the water doesn't get all the way into your basement, it can still cause extensive damage to the outside of your home.
Sometimes fixing your landscaping simply requires a redo of your flower beds, removing retaining walls that are trapping water, or adding drainage. But in other cases, you may need to do more extensive work on your yard to stop the damage.
How to Fix Your Landscaping to Increase Drainage
If your yard slopes towards your house, the water may have nowhere to go. This leads to it collecting around your home. Even if you aren't experiencing heavy rains, this can be a problem.
In this case, you'll want to bring in a landscaping professional that can help you dig out your yard to even the slope, or to add drainage.
But if your yard is relatively flat, you can likely do some repair work on your own.
Adding a downspout to your gutter can help redirect water out of your landscaping and into other parts of your yard. As a rule, downspouts should always deposit water at least three feet away from your home's foundation.
You can even dig a dry "creek bed" leading from your soggy landscaping to a lower point in your yard. With the addition of some decorative rocks and plants, this can add charm to your yard while also helping to keep the water away from your home.
If that redirected water results in a soggy area elsewhere on your yard, you may consider planting a "rain garden." Choose plants with deep roots that thrive in wet conditions. With the right plants, you can absorb excessive water and be glad that prevented a possible basement flood.
Clean Your Gutters Regularly
While adding a downspout is a great way to route water away from your home, this method only works if your gutters are kept clean and clear.
Blocked gutters can lead to a whole variety of problems in and around your home. Flooding is one of them.
When water is prevented from flowing through the gutters and out the downspouts, it will end up flowing over the edges of your gutters. Then, the water continues its journey down the sides of your home, collecting at its base.
Over time, this can damage your home's foundation and allow water to get in. It can also lead to damage on the outside of your home.
How Often Should You Clean Your Gutters
If your home isn't surrounded by trees, or if you live in a hot climate that doesn't see the leaves fall as temperatures drop, you can likely get away with checking your gutters just once a year.
But if you live in a wooded area or have a tree close to your home, you'll want to clean your gutters at least three or four times a year.
If you ever notice water pouring over the sides of your gutter rather than channelling down your downspouts, check your gutters for blockages as soon as conditions allow you to.
It's also important to fix or repair gutters anytime you notice any damage. Leaving them damaged for too long can cause water to collect where it shouldn't be around your home, which could cause water to get into your basement.
If you're looking for smart ideas on how to prevent basement flooding, then remember to keep your gutters clean, clear, and free of damage.
Check Your Water Pipes for Damage
Water pooling in your landscaping or running down the side of your home due to a clogged gutter will often lead to a small amount of moisture in your home's basement.
If you suddenly notice that a lot of water seems to be pooling, it's likely that something else is going on. One cause could be a damaged water pipe.
Even a small leak in your water or sewage line can cause moisture to collect. Often, the water collects in your yard. At first, you may notice that your yard suddenly has healthy, bright green patches of grass that grows faster than the rest of your grass.
If the leak is left unfixed, water may begin to pool and puddle in your yard. When a leak occurs close to your home, it can cause damage to your home's foundation. This can lead to water collecting in your basement.
Other signs of a broken or leaking pipe include mould growth in your home, slow drains, the presence of moisture in drains you don’t use, or foul drainage odours.
Fixing a Broken Water or Sewer Pipe
If you suspect that you could have a leaking water or sewer pipe, you're going to want to get professional help to fix the problem.
Most homeowners shudder at the thought of having to pay to repair a water line. After all, digging out a line and laying a new pipe can be expensive.
But in many cases, trenchless water repair offers a more affordable fix that can help you get your pipes repaired and prevent a flooded basement.
Regardless of your approach, it’s key to act fast. The faster you fix the problem, the less damage that will occur, and the cheaper your repair will be.
Service Your Sump Pump
If you recently bought a home and found that it came with a sump pump, it's likely that your home has either previously had issues with flooding or that it is located in an area with a high water table or situated around other potential flooding hazards.
But this doesn't mean that you're doomed to suffer from a wet basement after a heavy storm; that's what the sump pump is for.
When a sump pump is operating properly, it works to pump water out from underneath your home, and out to another area, typically a storm drain.
By pumping the water away from your home's foundation, the pump prevents flooding from occurring within your home.
Unfortunately, sump pumps can malfunction or break down over time. If you have to use your sump pump often, it may wear out and stop working when you need it the most.
If you don't use your sump pump often, it may be easy to neglect it. Check to see if it still works or it may fail you when it’s needed most.
Keep Your Sump Pump Running Properly
You should check your sump pump regularly to make sure that it's functioning properly. If a storm is headed your way, check it again just to be certain.
Adding a generator or battery backup can also help keep your sump pump functioning if your home loses power.
While a battery back-up and regular service to your sump pump will cost money upfront, these measures can go a long way towards preventing very costly, devastating damage to your home during a storm or heavy rain.
And because many insurance policies won't cover flood damage that occurs due to a broken sump pump, you may be left paying for that damage entirely out of your own pocket.
Check Your Foundation for Cracks
While water collecting around your home can lead to damage to your foundation, this damage can sometimes be the root of the flooding problem rather than a side effect.
There are a number of ways that a home's foundation can become damaged.
Tree roots from older trees in your yard or those planted too close to your home can lead to cracks. Even after you remove the tree, those cracks will remain and can allow water to start to leak in.
Older homes may suffer from a sagging or deteriorating foundation. If your home was constructed on soil that was too soft or that was uneven, this can also lead to damage.
A very small crack in your foundation may not seem like a big deal. Unfortunately, it's very easy for that crack to grow over time.
During the cold Ottawa winter months, water can get into cracks and freeze, causing it to expand. As this occurs over several months or years, that small crack may become a major problem.
Poor drainage, a leaking pipe, or even overwatering your landscaping can also cause damage to your foundation.
Fixing Your Foundation
Sometimes cracks in your foundation will be easy to spot. Other times, they may be invisible to the naked eye. In this case, if you've ruled out other reasons why your basement is flooding, it's a good idea to get your foundation checked.
You'll need professional help to repair your home's foundation. But it's a worthwhile investment that can help stop the water damage and also prolong the lifetime of your Ottawa home.
Like many other types of damage that can occur around your home, getting cracks in your foundation repaired as quickly as possible can help keep the damage from getting worse, and help keep costs in check.
Putting an End to Your Ottawa Basement Flooding
Ottawa basement flooding is a very real, and very serious problem for many homeowners.
Whether your flooding is the result of a storm, poor drainage in your yard, a leaking pipe, or any number of other causes, it can lead to expensive damage, ruin your belongings, and even cause long-term health problems if mould is left behind after the water recedes.
Luckily, there are ways to put an end to the water damage in your home.
Now that you know a few ideas for how to stop basement flooding, it's time to put these tips to work.
If you need to service your sump pump or add a battery back-up, or have a damaged water or sewer pipe, or perhaps you need your drains cleared out, then we can help. Contact Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Ottawa today, and let us help you put an end to your basement flooding.