Prevent Sewer Backup
Published on April 15, 2021
All homes everywhere are at risk of water or sewer backup problems.
Heavy rain or snow and aging infrastructure are the major causes of water losses.
The following actions can be taken to help prevent a water loss or sewer back up in your home:
- Keep sewer caps on all basement sewer outlets (including your floor drain, washer stack, sump hole, etc.) during rainstorms.
- Install a sump pump and discharge drainage onto your lawn or driveway.
- Have a 4-inch automatic backwater valve professionally installed. It should stay open most of the time.
- Disconnect all rainwater downspouts from your basement sewer system and cap disconnected standpipes.
- Extend all rainwater downspouts away from the foundation of your home.
- Ensure your eavestroughs and downspouts are not clogged with debris.
- Ensure there is proper grading away from your home so that water will not cause problems on your neighbours’ property.
- Install properly drained window wells and window well covers.
- Reduce the use of water in your home during heavy rainfalls.
- Have cracks in your basement walls, foundations, and floors professionally repaired.
- Fill all gaps in your basement walls, around windows, doors, and entry points for pipes and cables.
- Keep storm sewer grates in your neighbourhood clear of debris.
- Items stored in your basement should not sit directly on your basement floor and plastic watertight containers would help protect your items from water damage.
- Don’t store irreplaceable or valuable items in your basement.
What to do if you have suffered a water loss
First and foremost, take care of yourself and your family and make sure everyone is safe. Once you’re ready, contact your Insurance Advisor to report your claim. An adjuster will be assigned to you as soon as possible to assess the damage.
After your claim has been filed and you are waiting to be contacted by an adjuster, take steps to protect your property from further damage or loss:
- Make a detailed list of everything and take several photographs or make a video of the loss.
- Don’t throw anything out. Store damaged items in a reasonably safe place so the adjuster can see them when they arrive. If your flooring and underlay are wet, it is recommended to pull it out in order to facilitate the drying process. In extreme cases where it must be discarded, keep a 1-foot square sample of each for your adjuster.
- Clean up as soon as possible. Seek professional advice on how to clean up and take whatever reasonable steps you can to minimize the extent of your loss.
- Don’t touch electrical systems or panels until you know it is safe to do so, especially in wet or damp conditions.
- Move damaged belongings to a dry area with good ventilation.
- Have any appliances (including furnaces) that have come in contact with water checked by a qualified electrician, dealer, or serviceman before you use them.
- Disinfect all articles that have come in contact with flood or sewer water.
- Let rooms dry thoroughly before cleaning or repainting.
- Use a stiff broom or brush to sweep dirt from rugs and carpets. Then clean using a good rug shampoo that contains a disinfectant.
- Remove drawers from furniture before the wood swells. Dry furniture slowly and away from direct heat or sunlight, to avoid warping.
- Move upholstered furniture outdoors to air. When dry, vacuum thoroughly, and then use a good upholstery shampoo that contains a disinfectant.
- Dry all books and papers slowly, away from direct heat or sunlight.
- Wash clothing several times, adding bleach or disinfectant to the wash cycle, if the fabric permits.
If you aren’t sure if you have adequate coverage on your insurance policy, call your Insurance Advisor and ask if you have overland water, sewer back up and groundwater coverage on your policy.