Water Seepage, Problems and Solutions
Water damage from seepage or ground water is a serious problem and usually is not covered by insurance.
Things you can do to protect your investment sealing cracks before they get worse, checking the backwater valve to avoid a sewer backup, extending downspouts to prevent water seepage. It’s a lot of work to maintain a home, but nowhere near as much as having to clean up after sustaining water damage in your basement!
Cause No. 1: Gutters
Gutters play a crucial role: They carry thousands of litres of water every year. During heavy rain, they can collect up to 10,000 L of water – half the volume of a 15 ft. swimming pool.
A word of caution: Are your downspouts connected to the subsoil drainage pipe or the municipal sewer system? Warning: They could overflow! This is against National Building Code standards and many municipalities’ bylaws. Disconnect them to avoid the risk of a sewer backup.
Clear the gutters: A good habit to get into, ideally, you should clean the gutters in the spring and fall. Remove leaves and debris then use a hose to run water through them, starting from the highest point. That way you can check that the water is flowing properly and find any leaks. For your safety, we recommend hiring a professional.
Cause No. 2: Ground Slope
Over time, soil erosion can change the slope of the ground around your house, until one day you realize rainwater is flowing toward the house instead of toward the street! Be sure to keep an eye on this and take action to avoid seepage problems.
When the ground slopes toward the house, water from heavy rainfall or melting snow will collect near the foundation and fill the drains. Water has nowhere else to go but to seep into the most vulnerable points – the base of the foundation or small cracks.
A slope of as little as 10 to 15 cm over 1.5 m (4 to 6 in. over 5 ft.) starting from the outside wall of the house is enough to keep water away from the foundation.
Cause No. 3: Backwater valve
What’s a backwater valve?
A backwater valve prevents sewage water from backing up into your home. The backwater valve is part of the plumbing system and is located in the basement. It’s simple open-close flap does an important job: making sure the municipal sewage system doesn’t back up into the drains and ends up bubbling out of your plumbing fixtures!
Most buildings have one or more of these backup prevention devices. You’ll find your backwater valves in the basement, either covered by a trap or installed on above ground pipes near plumbing fixtures (e.g., sinks, toilets, showers or washer drains).
If your basement is unfinished, you may see a round (usually black) trap on the floor. Simply lift it to access the valve. With an above ground installation, the valve will often be right on top of the drain pipe of a plumbing fixture. Accessible backwater valves – the secret to success! Sewer backups aren’t fun, so it’s worth making sure your backwater valves are properly sealed and well maintained. And that means they have to be accessible! If your valve is covered by a trap, make sure you can find and remove it if you need to.
Clean valves bring peace of mind Cleaning a backwater valve is much easier than having to dry out a flooded basement! WHICH THEN CAN BECOME A MOLD COVERED BASEMENT! It only takes a few minutes to make sure it’s sealed and working but time well spent.
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This article was written by Jason Rorke. Visit Jason on Google+