In 2017 alone, flooding in Toronto cost the city $8.45 million. As climate change continues to send unpredictable weather to Toronto, flooding that causes extreme damage is expected to increase.
You can't control the weather, but you can control how you prepare for it.
Checking taps, toilets and appliances that use water is one way to prevent in-home flooding. However, taking steps to minimize the possibility of basement flooding from leaks in the foundation or sewage back-up could potentially save you thousands of dollars when the next big storm hits. Not only will your insurance company thank you by possibly giving you a break on your insurance costs, but the City of Toronto is now providing a subsidy to help you install flood prevention devices.
The Toronto Basement Flooding Subsidy provides up to $3,400 to single-family, duplex and triplex residential homes to prepare and protect their home against flooding. That's $3,400 per property to install a backwater valve, a sump pump or sever and cap your connection to the sewer line. Individual rebate amounts may vary based on individual circumstances. Contact Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Toronto to speak directly with a specialist.
Call 416-699-8623 now, or keep reading to learn about how you can prevent flooding in your home.
Not all floods are preventable but there are some simple things you can do to prevent your home from the risk of flood.
- Running toilets, overflowing sinks, broken washing machines, dishwashers or any piece of equipment that uses water are all potential flood risk items. Leaving your house with any of these malfunctions can put your home at risk.
- Avoid putting items that could cause blockage down the drains. That includes everything from hygiene products and large amounts of toilet tissue to leftover cooking oil and grease.
- You should regularly check your home for taps that are dripping and pipes that are leaking. Old washing machine and dishwasher hoses that show signs of wear and tear or potential for eruption can also cause issues.
If you're not sure what to look for, contact a licensed plumber to have your home inspected for potential problems.
If you're already aware of leaking pipes or a broken toilet, get those fixed right away. Delaying repair and using a temporary solution could end up costing you a lot more money than getting it fixed right away.
Basement Flood Prevention
You might find water in your basement after a rainstorm or in the spring when snow is melting. But, considering the frequency of flooding in the City of Toronto over the last five years, more severe basement flooding is a real risk for all homeowners.
Below are some things you can do inside and outside of your home to prevent basement flooding.
- Use a sealant to fill any cracks or leaks in floors, wall, and windows.
- Regularly clean your eavestroughs and downspouts of built-up debris so that they can move rainwater away from the house.
- If you can do it without causing damage to your neighbours' property, disconnect downspouts from the sewer system and ensure they are draining 2 meters from your home's foundation.
- Ensure that water drains away from your home's foundation and adjust the grading where necessary.
- Plants and shrubs absorb water - the more you have around your home, the more rainwater is collected.
- Help rainwater and melting snow down storm sewers by clearing debris that could be preventing drainage.
- Hire a licensed Toronto plumber to test and inspect your home for potential basement flood risks.
- Check the condition of weeping tiles and repair or replace where needed.
- Fix any condition problems on the foundation of your home.
- Maintain your sump pump and ensure power outages won't affect its operation.
- Take advantage of the Toronto Basement Flooding Subsidy Program and have a backwater valve installed, get a sump pump or change your external weeping tile connection.
There are three types of work covered under the Toronto Basement Flooding Subsidy Program.
Installing a Backwater Valve
The available subsidy for the following services is 80% of the invoiced cost to a maximum of $1,250. This includes the number of devices installed, labor, materials, permit, and taxes.
- Installing or replacing a backwater valve
- Installing an alarm for a backwater valve.
To have a backwater valve installed, you're going to need a Building Permit from the City (more on that later).
After the work is completed, the valve must be inspected by a City of Toronto building inspector before you can receive the subsidy.
Installing a Sump Pump
The available subsidy for the following services is 80% of the invoiced cost to a maximum of $1,750. This includes the number of devices installed, labour, materials, permit, and taxes.
- Installing or replacing a sump pump
- Installing an alarm for a sump pump
- Installing backup power for a sump pump
Like the backwater valve, a sump pump must be inspected by a City of Toronto building inspector before you can receive the subsidy.
Severing and Capping Storm Sewer or External Weeping Tile Connection
The available subsidy for the following services is 80% of the invoiced cost to a maximum of $400. This includes the labour, materials, and taxes.
- Disconnecting foundation drains (aka weeping tiles) from the City sewer system through the severance and capping of the underground connection
Eligible Work Explained
For those of you that aren't plumbers or contractors, here's a bit more information to clarify exactly what all the above means.
What Is a Backwater Valve?
A backwater valve prevents basement flooding by closing your homes' connection to the sewer lines when there's a lot of rain. This stops any water from the sewer line getting into your home.
Because it prevents water from coming into your home, once the valve is closed, it also prevents water from draining out. That means that when this valve is in operation you can't use any of the items in your home connected to your plumbing, such as toilets, taps, washing machines or dishwashers.
Backwater valves are complicated to install and repair. Only a licensed plumber should be doing that kind of work or you risk your backwater valve malfunctioning and putting your home at risk.
They also require regular maintenance and inspection, which should be done by a licensed professional.
What Is a Sump Pump?
A sump pump can help prevent basement flooding by pumping the water collected by weeping tiles away from the vicinity of your home.
Sump pumps have to be properly fitted to your home and must empty into a porous or permeable area that's at least 2 meters away from the foundation of the house.
You may have noticed that the Toronto Basement Flooding Subsidy Program provides money for a backup power system for your sump pump. But why is that?
Severe storms that cause power outages may cause your sump pump to lose power. A battery-powered backup system will allow your sump pump to continue moving water away from your home in the case the power goes out.
Like backwater valves, sump pumps also need to be inspected and maintained by a licensed professional.
How Do You Get a Building Permit?
If you're thinking of installing a backwater valve, you're going to need a Building Permit.
For a house with one or two dwelling units, a stand-alone drain permit is required before doing any work. You don't have to submit any plans along with your application but you do have to pay a small fee of $35.75.
Fill out the Application for a Permit to Construct or Demolish and provide this to the City of Toronto either by email or in person on a DVD or USB. You can visit any Toronto Building Customer Service counter to submit your application along with a Consent Form, which we'll talk about next.
You can apply yourself OR if you are working with Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Toronto, we will take care of the paperwork on your behalf.
What is a Consent To Enter form?
Whether you're installing a backwater valve or a sump pump, you need to complete and sign a Consent To Enter Form. This can be submitted along with your application, by email or in person.
A Consent To Enter Form gives permission to the City of Toronto Building staff to enter your property for the express purpose of inspecting your installation(s).
They will verify that that backwater valve and/or sump pump exist and have been installed according to the requirements and conditions of the Subsidy Program. They may also take photographs, video and other digital images for the same purpose.
Who Can Perform the Eligible Work?
The work eligible for the Toronto Basement Flooding Subsidy Program should only be performed by a qualified, licensed professional. This ensures that the devices are installed according to the manufacturer's instructions and minimizes the chance of not meeting the subsidy eligibility requirements.
Below are some tips on finding the right professional.
Getting a Quote
The more quotes you have, the more knowledge you're arming yourself with. At the very least, you should get at least two quotes.
Some companies advertise free quotes that are provided over the phone. Keep in mind that over the phone quotes are usually incomplete and inaccurate. Once the plumber sees the job, you're likely to receive a whole new quote (usually more than what you were told).
In the long run, it's better to obtain a quote from a contractor who will do free on location quotes to determine the actual cost up front.
References are an important part of choosing your service provider. A reference gives you information on the work they have already done so that you can trust you're getting a professional whose service is trustworthy.
Short of asking for references, look for companies that have won awards for outstanding service. You can get a pretty good idea about a company based on the awards they've won.
Great reviews can also indicate which companies or contractors are even worth contacting for a quote. Reviews are instrumental in helping you make your final decision.
To be eligible for the Toronto Basement Flooding Subsidy Program, you must use a contractor that holds a valid City of Toronto business license. If it turns out they don't have a valid license, you won't receive funding for the work that has been completed.
Before work starts, or before you even hire them, verify that your contractor has a valid City of Toronto business license. Where do you find that kind of information? Use the Business Licence Lookup tool.
What Type of Contractor Can Perform What Type of Work?
Below is a breakdown of who can legally perform this work for you:
- Plumbing Contractor (T94): Backwater valve, sump pump, pipe severance, and capping.
- Plumbing and Heating Contractor (T92): Backwater valve, sump pump, pipe severance, and capping.
- Drain Contractor (T87): Backwater valve, sump pump, pipe severance, and capping.
- Building Renovator (T85): Sump pump, pipe severance, and capping.
The Steps in Order
If you're installing a backwater valve or sump pump yourself, start at Step 1 (below). If you are working with Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Toronto you can avoid the hassle of time-consuming paperwork.
- Apply for a Building Permit with an Application for a Permit to Construct or Demolish and attach a Consent To Enter Form.
- Obtain your permit from a Customer Service Counter.
- Hire a licensed professional to install your backwater valve and/or sump pump.
- When the installation is complete, request an inspection from the City of Toronto Building staff. The inspector must be able to confirm that the installation meets the requirements of the Subsidy Program, so do not enclose or cover it until after inspection.
- Fill out a Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program application form following a successful inspection.
- Enclose with your application the invoice(s), marked as "paid in full". An itemized cost breakdown of all work must be included on the invoice along with any invoices from a sub-contractor.
- Mail your completed application to the Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program.
- Your application will be reviewed to verify your eligibility. Denials will be notified by mail but if you take all the right steps and all the right precautions in hiring, you'll receive your subsidy.
Call a Professional Now
Once basement flooding has occurred, you're likely going to be spending thousands of dollars to fix the problem. That's not a risk you should take in a city that's been plagued by heavy rainstorms and flooding over the last few years.
Preventing basement flooding may seem like a daunting and expensive task but, with the right professionals and the availability of the Toronto Basement Flooding Subsidy Program, it's more than manageable.
If you're ready to protect your home and take advantage of the money being made available to you, contact us now for your free in-home estimate.