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Home flooding prevention: understanding sump pumps

Published on Mar 17, 2021 | Last updated Mar 17, 2021 5 minute read

Home flooding prevention: understanding sump pumps

Spring is almost here! There’s so much to love about spring: longer days, warmer weather and flowers blooming. However, there is one thing spring can bring that no one likes: home flooding and water damage.

In this article, we’ll explain different types of water damage that can affect your home. We’ll also go over sump pumps - explaining what they are and how they can help prevent flooding.

What are the different types of water damage?

Did you know that in recent years, water damage has surpassed fire as the leading cause of property damage in Canada?

There are several different ways water can cause damage to your property. But – we have good news for you…there is a specific insurance coverage for each type of water damage, which is important to know when you’re purchasing the protection you need for your home.

Here are the main types of water damage for which there is insurance coverage:

Sewer Backup

Which happens when water backs up from the sewer system and flows into your home. Installing sewer backup loss prevention devices can reduce damage and may lower insurance premiums.

Overland Water

This is water damage caused by lake/river, overflow, heavy rain or rapid snow melt that enters your home from a point at or above ground surface.

Water & Sewer Lines

You may have to repair or replace your water service line and/or sewer line due to a loss resulting from a leak, break, tear, rupture or collapse of the line.

Ground Water

If water enters your home suddenly and accidentally through a basement wall, foundation or floor, it can result in considerable damage.

Even a small amount of water can lead to significant damage. That’s why it’s so crucial to take measures to purchase insurance coverage to protect your home from water damage.

What is a sump pump and how does it work?

A sump pump is a pump used to remove accumulated water. It is installed in a sump pit, which is usually found in a basement. The sump pit is usually about 60 cm in diameter with holes on the sides. As the water table rises, water drains into the sump pit and is pumped out and drained far from the foundation of the home. This small but important addition to your home can help prevent your basement from flooding.

In the spring, excess groundwater runs toward the sump pit, which fills with water. This activates the sump pump float switch, which automatically turns the pump on.

By pumping water out of the pit and into a nearby storm drain, dry well, or detention pond, the sump pump prevents flooding from occurring in your basement. Think of it as an additional piece of your flood insurance protection.

Having a sump pump in your home can offer benefits which include:

  • Helping to prevent your basement from flooding
  • Improving indoor air quality
  • Keeping your foundation intact and free from cracks
  • Making the basement drier and more comfortable year-round
  • Safeguarding basement appliances such as the washer, dryer, and spare freezer from water damage
  • Reducing mold, mildew, and fungus growth
  • Discouraging termites and other insect invasions
  • Protecting the paint and other wall coverings from peeling
  • Offering peace of mind, especially during the wet spring months
  • Meeting a requirement for homeowner’s insurance coverage for basement flood damage

Sump pump maintenance

Installing a sump pump is one of the best ways to prevent water damage. Once you have installed this device, it’s important to do routine maintenance checks. Here are a few things you can do to keep this device running smoothly:

  • Check the motor by lifting the cover and pulling up the float. If it doesn’t start running, make sure it is plugged in and getting power. If it still doesn’t run, call a professional.
  • Make sure the discharge line extends far enough away from your home to safely drain the water away from your foundation.
  • It helps to have a backup power source for your sump pump in case a severe storm causes you to lose power. A backup generator will keep your sump pump running to avoid basement flooding.

More tips for preventing water damage

Here are a few more tips that can help you prevent water damage:

  • Clear eaves troughs and direct downspouts away from your home or business property.
  • Remove debris from drainage to avoid clogging.
  • Regularly schedule sump pump maintenance and check your backup battery.
  • Make a current and detailed inventory of belongings in your home or business (take pictures, keep receipts and warranties).
  • If you own a business, reduce inventory damage by storing items above flood level.
  • Consider installing permanent or removable barriers to seal openings such as doors, to prevent water from entering.
  • Take advantage of municipal subsidies or grants for a sewer backup loss mitigation device such as a sump pump with a backup power system or backwater valves.
  • Contact your advisor to make sure you have adequate coverage for damage and/or business interruption.

What to do if water damage occurs

If water damage does occur, take pictures of any areas or equipment affected. Contact your insurance advisor before you make attempts to repair damage. We will help you get in touch with your insurance provider if you need to make a claim.

Get the right coverage for your home

A flood can quickly devastate your home, leaving you overwhelmed by the damage – whether it's caused by a major storm, a flash flood, an overflowing river, poor drainage, or sewer backup. Planning ahead by taking steps to mitigate potential damage (e.g. installing a sump pump) and purchasing the right insurance coverage can help protect your property.

A BrokerLink insurance advisor will be in your corner, helping you find the best possible insurance plan to suit your needs. They’ll give you expert and unbiased advice so you can have confidence your home is safe.

It’s easy to get in touch with a BrokerLink insurance advisor!

Home Flooding Prevention: Understanding Sump Pumps FAQs

What is the capacity of a sump pump's drainage tank?

Different sump pumps have different capacities. The size you purchase will depend on where you live and how much water you can expect.

How far away from the house should a sump pump drain?

A sump pump should drain far enough away from your house that the water does not run back towards the foundation of your home. The exact distance can vary depending on the size of your home, lawn and property around your home. If you are not sure how to install the sump pump, consider hiring a professional.

Is the water from the sump pump's tank automatically drained?

Most sump pumps drain automatically.