Your basement is home to a lot of valuable things – both items of sentimental and of monetary value. Old photos, keepsakes and family heirlooms often find their way down to the basement, as do more big-ticket items like your washer and dryer. In some homes, the basement is a receiver for all the stuff that the main floor just can’t hold, and so you end up with boxes upon boxes filled with valuable stuff. Not only that, but your basement is also the structural foundation of your home, upon which everything rests. In short, it’s important to keep it safe.

Unfortunately, the weather sometimes has other plans. With the amount of annual rainfall and the number of flash floods Toronto receives, a basement can flood very quickly, and when it does it takes all those memories, all those big-ticket items and ruins them. Not only that, but it endangers the house’s foundations. Add that to the fact that most insurance policies here in Canada don’t cover overland flood insurance (unless you specifically sign up for it), and you could stand to lose a lot of money if a storm hits.

So what can you do about basement flooding? Well, for starters you can call Mister Plumber, undoubtedly one of the best, most experienced plumbing companies in Toronto and chat with us about basement flood protection. In this article, we’ll walk through the two main modes of basement flood protection – backwater valves and sump pumps – and talk a bit about Toronto’s flood subsidy program, which can save you money.

Backwater Valve

A backwater valve, to put it simply, is a one-way flow control valve installed within a drainage system. It allows waste water to drain out of a system, but if waste water tries to make its way in, the valve will force itself closed, protecting your home from a build-up of potentially damaging waste water. Think of the backwater valve as like the nightclub bouncer of the drainage system – it kicks the bad stuff out, and shuts the door when bad stuff tries to get in.

As you can see in this picture, a backwater valve was installed near the front wall of a basement, on the main drainpipe, so it protects all plumbing fixtures that are below street level and could be subject to sewage backup from the municipal sewer. It should be a required part of any good basement flood protection services and necessary to all homes at risk of flooding (that is, pretty much any home in Toronto). When you call us about basement flood protection, this is likely the first thing we’ll want to discuss.


Sump Pump

A sump pump, aside from having a name that’s fun to say, is another necessary tool in the battle against basement flood damage. In Toronto, every new house is required to be built with a sump pump (which shows you its importance), but nevertheless some older houses don’t have them. A sump pump removes water that collects in its sump basin by pumping it into a storm sewer or out into the yard. It works in tandem with weeping tiles, which collect rainwater via perforated pipes running around the basement’s foundation, thereby preventing groundwater from ruining your basement.

The picture above shows the installation of a sump pit with a sump pump inside, as well as a check valve and a 1.5” ABS discharge pipe that leads to the outside of the house. As mentioned, a sump pump like this one keeps the underground natural water collected by weeping tiles at proper level below the concrete floor in basement. It’s one of those absolutely essential plumbing fixtures that really should be a part of every home, and if you suspect your home doesn’t have one, give us a ring. We here in Toronto can expect rainfall throughout the rest of the summer and well into the fall, so it’s advisable to act pre-emptively, and avoid costly damage, repair headaches and lost memories.

You might be wondering what all of this will cost, and you might even wondering if the risk really necessitates the cost – well, there’s some good news there. The good news is that there is a city of Toronto rebate (flood subsidy program) for the installation of both backwater valves and sump pumps, and homeowners are eligible to get up to a $3400 rebate, an amount that we can help you claim, since we are a fully licensed and insured Toronto plumbing company. The program provides a good opportunity for Torontonians to protect their basements without taking too much of a financial hit.

The Toronto city website has all the information about how to apply for the subsidy program, as well as the subsidy conditions, so you’re encouraged to take a look through the information. It’s fairly straightforward. We’ve been offering basement waterproofing help for a number of years, helping countless homes with their basement flood protection, and can be on hand to answer any other questions that you might have as well.

Also, as if you needed more reason to install basement flooding protection, there are even some insurance companies that offer lower premiums if flood protection devices are installed. So not only will basement flood protection keep your valuables and big-ticket appliances safe, but it could also end up saving you money in the long run. It’s a win-win situation.

In conclusion, there are a lot of reasons to protect your basement. If not to protect the valuables and keepsakes in the basement, you should do it to preserve the structural integrity of the house. If you don’t do it for that reason, consider doing it for the lower premiums and Toronto rebate. Whatever your reason, call Mister Plumber to come install a backwater valve and/or a sump pit and sump pump. We have lots of experience and will offer you impeccable service at a terrific price. Don’t let the Toronto weather get the best of your basement – call us today!

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