As an owner of the property, your responsibility is to eliminate the risk of injury, death and property loss through regular maintenance and managing hazards that can occur from activities in and around the house.
Water damage is a growing problem in Ontario. Water can be present from:
- A backed up sewer.
- A municipal water main break.
- Flash flooding from a rain storm or overflowing river from heavy rain or rapid ice melt (overland water).
- Ground seepage from a normal rain storm, gardening hose, irrigation system, leaking pool.
- Overflowing sink, tub, toilet or sump pit.
- Backed up drains from oil and grease build up.
- A washing machine drain hose that has detached from the drain pipe.
- Dishwasher overflow or broken door seal.
- A crack or poorly glued fitting in a drain.
- Burst pipe (copper, plastic ice maker line, plastic trap primer line).
- A nail or screw that punctured the water line and has been corroding for years until the seal breaks.
- A faulty water line connection (soldered copper fitting, fitting for polyethylene, compression fitting or hose connection).
- A contractor accidentally puncturing a line during renovations.
- Ice damming on the roof.
- A spilled bucket or glass of water.
- Humidity from hot showers or the summer weather.
Water can enter the house through the roof, open windows, cracked windows, cracks around window and door frames, cracks in the foundation, a floor drain or lowest level toilet. The damage can happen instantly from outside flooding or a burst pipe or slowly from seepage or dripping over time. The severity of damage can range from water stains in the ceiling, peeling paint, swelling baseboards, black mold to soaked drywall and flooring, water logged furnace, appliances, television and stereo equipment. The cost of restoration to you or the insurance company can range from $100 to thousands of dollars plus the toll of stress that is created after the damage is done.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has a flood forecast and warning program that provides regular updates. The Government of Canada has a Flood Ready site to educate you and help you plan for flooding.
The recently developed Home Flood Protection Program can help you identify up to 50 potential sources of water entry into your house. You would need to hire a contractor or specialist to maintain or alter the areas of concern. Rebates or subsidies may be available through government programs to help offset some of the cost.
This is part 2 of a 3 part series. In Part 3, we will be looking at wind damage.
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