“When it rains, it pours”. In Toronto, that’s quite literally the case. And we’re not out of the woods yet, in regards to rain for the year. In fact, according to the stats, October has the highest number of rainy days on average throughout the year, beating its closest competitor – May, which is known for its May showers – by a full two days.
This bodes well for gardens, trees and plants since they get their continued fill of life-giving H2O. And it’s not too bad if you’ve forgotten to wash your car recently! It’s annoying, however, when you consider that, along with the uptick in rain, comes an increased risk of basement flooding.
In one of our previous blogs we talked about the different ways in which a basement can be flooded – the different sources of a flood, and how they impact a home. We described how the simple installation of a backwater valve could prevent a costly and foul sewage flood in your home. No need to replace old plumbing or undertake a huge plumbing project. That’s still true, but it doesn’t address the entire problem.
In this post, let’s discuss the installation of sump pits and pumps, which together manage natural underground water. Whereas backwater valves protect you against water coming into your home via pipes, sump pumps are there to defend against seepage from the surrounding soil. The installation process, which is not involved, costly or invasive, can protect your home from costly flood damages.
We’ll take a look at the soil around your home, its potential for flooding, and what you as a homeowner can do to keep the seepage at bay.
Your Native Soil
To start, let’s talk about soil. In Toronto, depending on the area and soil conditions, the underground water table has different depths.
There are, essentially, three types of soil in Toronto and the surrounding areas, upon which your house may be built: clay soil, sandy soil and sandy loam soils. On the one hand, clay soil works as a kind of waterproofing layer and therefore water is closer to the basement concrete floor. Other areas with sandy soil have groundwater that sits pretty deep.
Over the last few years, the underground water level has gone up. We can explain this phenomenon by turning your attention to the disconnection of eavestroughs from the combined drain, which discharges rainwater onto the surface. Take a look at the City of Toronto’s mandatory downspout disconnection initiative, which requires the disconnection of private downspouts from the city sewer in order to reduce both basement flooding and waterway pollution.
It’s a great idea, but it’s not without its ramifications. Consequently, and unfortunately, homeowners should expect more basement floods by groundwater in the future. While the initiative is aimed at preventing backwater flooding, it opens up a keener possibility that many homeowners face seepage and groundwater flooding. For its part, the City of Toronto understands this, which is why they have created an exemption application for homes with the potential for water ponding and basement flooding.
Protecting Your Basement From the Threat Below
You already know how to protect your home from a backwater, slow drainage and backups – so how does one go about defending against natural groundwater?
For homeowners worried about the oncoming fall rain, the installation of a sump pit with a sump pump is the best way to protect your basements. A sump pit itself is approximately 30” deep and 24” in diameter – not all that big or cumbersome. And it works pretty simply: water that collects around the house is transported to the pit via weeping tile pipes, and then the pump takes that water and discharges it back outside.
In the first picture above, you can see an installation job that we here at Mister Plumber completed recently. We dug a hole, and you can see the exposed weeping pipe that is prepared for the pit installation. Now check out the second picture, just below: it shows the pit fully installed with a submersible pump in it. As you can see, the entire process isn’t invasive at all, and the end product looks neat and out of the way. Even if you get hit with a flood in the middle of the night, our emergency plumbing services are open 24/7 to help you out.
Plumbing Codes Surrounding the Sump Pit and Pump
A critical reason that this project isn’t exactly a DIY undertaking is that, aside from the fact that it’s a difficult job to pull off right, there are also complex plumbing codes around the installation.
New plumbing codes state that a sump pit must have an airtight lid to prevent radon (a naturally occurring radioactive gas caused by uranium in the soil breaking down) from entering the living space. It’s unwise to trust an amateur with this since radon can be seriously harmful.
There are other plumbing codes that must be considered as well, like the check valve, the direction and length of the discharge pipe, etc. Then there’s the matter of electricity – sump pumps use 110 volts from a separate breaker. And the question arises: what happens if there is a power outage. For this, we install battery backup pumps that work in both cases, either primary pump fails or no power.
In conclusion, there will never be a year when Toronto isn’t rocked with precipitation. And, as we all know, when it rains it pours. Don’t leave your biggest investment vulnerable to the deleterious effects of groundwater. Look into the plumbing services from Mister Plumber today, and we can chat about installing a sump pit and sump pump. We know the codes like the back of our hands, and have the experience and expertise to do a superior job.
And it doesn’t have to be all out-of-pocket either. Homeowners in Toronto have the great opportunity to install or upgrade their sump pump and get a rebate of $1750 from the City of Toronto. The only catch is that a licensed Toronto contractor must do the work. Of course, if you’re reading this, it means you already know a professional licensed contractor. If you want to protect your home and reap the benefits of a subsidy, give us a shout!