Summer in Toronto are great, it provides a nice relief after a long and cold winter. When it comes to your basement, a dry summer can give you relief from the spring rains that wrecked havoc on your basement.
While the weather is still nice, it’s a good opportunity to take some time to do a perimeter inspection around you house to see if there are potential water leak problems just waiting to happen. The last thing you want is for heavy rains in the fall start creating water leaks in your basement. The summer is a great time to look around and see if you can be proactive in solving your basement water problems before they happen.
A common cause of basement leaks is saturated soil sitting around the foundation of your home. One of the biggest culprits of this are your gutters. Clogged or broken downspouts cause water to fall and pool around the perimeter of your home. If your foundation is compromised in any way, the water will eventually make its way through the path of least resistance. During your next rainfall, make sure your gutters and downspouts are directing water far enough away from your foundation to avoid water problems.
Ideally, you’d like to have the area around your foundation graded so that water runs away from your foundation instead of towards it. Just like with gutters, an improperly pitched landscape can cause major water issues in your basement. If you notice the theme here, channeling water away from your foundation can go a long way in keeping your basement dry.
Your Swimming Pool and Sprinkler System
If you have an underground pump for your swimming pool or an underground sprinkler system, check them to be sure they are not leaking water. Jon Portland from Discount Pool Supply says that a leak from a pool pump or hose, over the course of a summer, can totally saturate the soil around your home and even your neighbours if the are close by. Do an inspection and make sure you’re not leaking water into the soil around your foundation from your pool system or underground sprinklers.
Basement windows are a common cause of basement leaks. Cracks, settling and worn caulking around the window makes for an easy target for water entering your basement. If your basement window has a window well, do an inspection to be sure water is not pooling in the well after it rains and that it is draining properly. If your window well doesn’t have a drainage system in place, consider having one installed so that rainwater is channeled away from your foundation instead of pooling up against it as is the case with a clogged window well.
Some of the neighbourhoods here in Toronto and the GTA are congested. Some areas leave little room between houses. You may have done a great job keeping water away from your foundation, but your neighbour may not have. In the case of swimming pool pumps, we solved a customers basement leak mystery when we discovered their neighbours water pump was leaking profusely and causing the soil on the side of their house to become saturated. When it rained, this saturated soil became a lake, causing our customer’s basement to leak. Take a look at your neighbours and see if they have any of the water issues discussed here and if they may affect your home in the process.
This whole inspection should take less than an hour and can save you some major headaches once the fall rains come and the snow follows. Most basement leaks can be avoided by being proactive and taking care of your foundation and the area around it.