Prevent water damage
With today’s changing weather patterns, we’re all subject to potential water damage. But, there are precautions that you - in homes and cottages, in apartments and condos - can take to minimize your risk. Begin by contacting your local government, asking for information on reducing the effects of unwanted water and flooding. On an ongoing basis, you can also review and apply the tips outlined below.
- Be selective about investing in and/or storing valuable items in areas that are below ground level.
- Inspect visible plumbing pipes for corrosion and/or leaks, and make or request (of your condo board or landlord) any necessary repairs.
- Avoid discarding fats, oils and grease down drains; they can cause clogs when they solidify.
- Know where the water shut-off valve is located within your home, apartment, condo or seasonal property (which may help to limit damage in the case of an emergency).
- Install a water-damage alarm to serve as an early warning, which will give you a chance to turn off the water and prevent damage.
- If you store items on a level below ground, consider putting them on shelves and in watertight plastic containers, whenever possible.
Want to take extra steps? Consult a plumber, who can inspect your home and help you determine the best preventative options, based on your specific plumbing and septic/sewer connections. These may include:
- Installing an automatic back-up pump to your existing sump pump, if you have one; batteries or a generator can be used to power the back-up pump.
- Installing a backwater valve.
- Ensure that downspouts are directed away from your home, building and/or garage.
- Clear snow away from foundations and window wells to prevent melt water from accumulating.
- Seal (or request that your condo board or landlord seals) any cracks in your ceilings, walls, foundation and/or basement floors, where accumulated water could get in.
- Keep storm drains clear of leaves and other debris to prevent water from accumulating.
- Install window wells around basement windows to keep water out; check them every spring to ensure that they are free of debris.
- Maintain eaves-troughs regularly to keep them clear of leaves, twigs and other debris, so they can properly steer water from your roof, walls and foundation.
- Use a rain barrel to collect overflow water, or build a rain garden (great for urban or concrete areas) to prevent water from pooling around your walls and foundation.
- Ensure that grading around the foundation allows for correct drainage.
- Keep weeping tiles clear and in good repair.
- If you have a back-up pump installed on an existing sump pump, test the sump pump before the start of each wet season to make sure it's working.
- If you live in an area with mature trees, have pipes checked for tree roots.
- Review our rain checklist for simple steps to follow during periods of heavy rainfall.
As a home, residential or seasonal property owner, you can be eligible* for discounts by installing loss-prevention devices, such as:
- a backflow prevention device (BPD), installed on the sewer or septic line (if connected to a municipal sewer, clean-out access is also required)
- a secondary automatic powered backup sump pump (must have an automatic power source, such as a battery, to qualify for a discount)
*Check with your municipality and a licensed plumber to ensure that these devices are allowed in your area and effective for your home.