Toronto Flooding Recovering From A Flooded Basement

The cover is a copy of an article I wrote for Zoomer magazine last year.


So July 8, 2013 will certainly go down as a memorable from most Toronto residents.  In the time of a little more than three hours parts of the city received 126 mm of rain (with most coming down over a 2 hour period.  With all the rain it was inevitable that with the city’s sewer and storm run off systems were going to be overloaded…and that excess water had to go somewhere.    That somewhere? Homeowners’ basements.

We all see that our summer storms are becoming much more intense. Last July my Toronto east end neigbourhood experience a heavy downpour, 88 mm in less than two hours, leaving 200 home with flooded basements.  I talk from experience as my home was one of the unfortunate ones.

Once the water has receded it is time to assess the damage…and it will be substantial.   If you experience this you might want to consider the clean-up yourself, but this type of damage is way above most Toronto homeowners skill set.

Here’s What Lurks Down in The Basement

  •  Water damaged drywall and insulation
  • Mixture of fecal matter and storm runoff.
  • Perfect breeding ground for mold
  • Water damaged appliances most likely washer and dryer
  • Possible damage to you heating system
  • Furniture contaminated from the sewer back up

One neighbour last year attempted the clean up on their own and suffered from a nasty lung infection for months.    Damage like this is best left to the professional fire and water remediation companies.   The first call is to your insurer and the question you’re asking is simple, “AM I COVERED FOR SEWER BACK-UP”?

If you are then they will take the lead to have your basement dried out.

What To Expect In Drying Out

On a hot July day the stench and the humidity down in the basement will be like something you never experienced. With-in 24 hours a crew will be ripping out drywall, insulation and flooring. They will take pictures of the structural damage as well as build a blue print of the basement.   Make sure you keep a piece of the flooring so you will have a record. They will not remove any furniture of personal items as that will be part of your insurance claim.

The next step is to start the drying process. This involves placing heavy-duty dehumidifiers as well as blowers to remove excess moisture.   They sound like a turbo prop aircraft but get use to the noise as they will be running non-stop for the next 3 days.  Tip:   Record your hydro meter before they install the dehumidifiers and blowers as they consumer a lot of electricity.   I was able to claim the extra power consumption and got $75 reimbursed.

The next couple of posts will be on what to do once you`re basement is dry, dealing with your insurer as well as how to protect yourself in the future.