Now that yet another summer of frequent rain has drawn to a close, the City of Toronto is once again drawing attention to its Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program for homeowners looking to invest in flood prevention technologies for their basements.
For effective basement flood prevention, there are three major steps to take – each of which can be partially subsidized by the City, and all of which play an important role in keeping your foundation dry, while helping to manage levels in your municipality’s sewer systems.
- Disconnecting your “Weeping Tile” from the municipal sewer system.
Located underground within the basement foundation of your home, a “weeping tile” – also called a foundation drain – is not to be confused with the tiles in your kitchen. These are actually circular pipes that take in the water from your foundation walls, and – if they’re connected to the sewer system – deposit it there.
Disconnecting the weeping tile from the sewer system is a task that shouldn’t be done on its own – you’ll need somewhere for that foundation water to go, and a “sump pump” is the safest bet. You’ll also need to have your weeping tiles disconnected before you can think about installing a backwater valve.
- Installing or Replacing your Sump Pump
A sump pump is always found within or adjacent to a “sump pit” – a specially constructed reservoir, typically located at the lowest point of your basement or crawl space. After the pit takes on enough water from the foundation drains (which should be configured to empty into it, rather than into the sewer system), a pressure sensor or float activator is tripped, and that water is them pumped and transported well away from the foundation before being released.
In addition to installation of a brand-new sump pump, the City of Toronto’s subsidy program also offers a number of services for homeowners who already have one. These include replacement of the existing pump, or the installation of either an alarm or a back-up power supply. (Remember: your foundation will take on the most water during storms, so providing it with working back-up power is vital.)
- Installing a backwater valve
A backwater valve is installed within your basement’s internal plumbing, with the chief goal of preventing water from seeping up through floor drains. A flap within the valve will stay open regularly, allowing water to exit your home after regular use – but in events of heavy rainfall resulting in water flow into your basement, the flap will close and prevent any flooding through the floor drains.
Do these projects require hiring professionals?
Even if you consider yourself adept at home renovations and upgrades, the City of Toronto strongly recommends hiring a professional, and in fact, if you do not use the professional contractors officially licensed by the City of Toronto, you will not qualify for rebates under the Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program.
With the exception of backwater valves – which do not necessarily require a professional contractor – all three of the projects listed above will generally require the services of:
- A plumbing contractor and/or plumbing and heating contractor
- A drain contractor
- A building renovator
When looking into a contractor, the City recommends obtaining multiple quotes and references for each role that will be required.