Toronto is expected to have a milder winter this year, which means frequent cycles of freezing and thawing, often leading to basement leaks. If you’re like most homeowners, this may raise concerns about basement leaks. It is important to be proactive with basement leaks as consistent water in your basement can lead to other issues such as crumbling foundation and even mould.
Below are several proactive steps you can take during the fall which could help to keep your basement dry and leak-free during the upcoming months.
1 – Clean out troughs
It’s important to make sure your eavestroughs (gutters) have been cleaned before winter arrives. If they’re full of leaves and other debris they can easily become clogged. If this happens, water can leak from them to the ground close to the home’s foundation. Having clean troughs will also enable the water to drain properly during rainfalls and thaws.
2 – Redirect downspouts
The downspouts of your home should direct the water at least six feet away from your foundation. If they currently drain into the sewer system, disconnect them and aim them away from the house. Try to keep a distance of at least eight inches between the bottom of a downspout and the finished ground level or consider putting in window wells. Be sure to check for leaks in the downspouts and repair them when needed.
3 – Check basement windows and window wells
Take the time to inspect windows and window wells for broken, cracked or rotting frames as well as cracked caulking and clogged window well drains. Make any necessary repairs and to sure to clear all of the debris out of the window wells so they can drain properly.
4 – Check perimeter grading of home
Make sure the area around your home is graded away from the building or it could lead to water infiltration and the resulting damage. Simple adjustments to your landscaping can ensure that grading slopes away from your home.
5 – Ensure sump pumps and basement drains work
A sump pump is made to keep your basement dry. Check your sump pump to make sure it’s in working order and have a backup plan in place in case the electricity goes out during a storm. There are several types of sump pumps available which can operate on their own independent power supplies. In addition, make sure all of the drainage systems are unobstructed and working properly.
6 – Check basement for moisture
Take a good look at your basement to see if there are any signs of moisture or water. You can inspect it for damp spots as well as a white, powdery crystalline substance on the wall, which is known as efflorescence and is a sign of a moisture problem. If you find any evidence of a leaking basement, it’s better to be safe than sorry and to contact a professional to schedule an inspection. You can also install water monitors which will alert you of a leak and will shut the main water supply off if there’s moisture detected in the basement. These are ideal in case of burst water pipes during the winter.
The above fall maintenance tips should help to stop or at least lessen the amount of water getting into your basement. It is important to be proactive with basement leaks as consistent water in your basement can lead to other issues such as crumbling foundation and even mould.