If your basement has ever flooded, or experienced any type of water damage, you know just how stressful it can be. With a few simple maintenance tips and a keen eye, you can greatly reduce your risk of flooding.
When it comes to basement flooding, trust us, we’ve seen our fair share of damage. So, to keep you, and your basement dry, we’ve compiled a list of seven ways to prevent basement flooding.
#1: Clean & Maintain Gutters & Downspouts
We know you hate to do it, but cleaning your gutters and maintaining your downspouts is an essential part of homeownership. By keeping your gutters free of debris, and ensuring that your downspouts are properly positioned away from your foundation, water from rain and storms can flow freely, rather than pooling up against your home.
Keep in mind, downspouts should direct water at least three feet away from your foundation. In most cases, running downspout extensions or troughs is necessary to achieve this distance.
While cleaning you gutters and maintaining your downspouts can be a bit of an annoyance (especially if you reside in a particularly wooded area), the good news is that it is relatively simple and inexpensive.
#2: Properly Landscape Your Yard
Often times, the slope of your yard or the shape of your flower bed could be contributing to your water issues. Seems crazy, right? Well, consider this: if the slope of your yard directs water towards your home, water will pool up around your property, and eventually find a way in.
Depending on your specific landscaping issue, you may need to re-grade your lawn, or even have a French drain installed.
#3: Inspect & Repair Foundation Cracks
This may seem obvious, but cracks in your home’s foundation act as an open invitation to water and critters. To prevent basement flooding, water damage, and pest infestation, visually inspect the exterior of your foundation, basement walls, and floors on a regular basis.
If you come across any cracks during your inspection, fill them with epoxy; if warning signs are detected, apply a masonry sealer on the indoor areas. If leaking still persists, or you encounter a more serious foundation problem, don’t wait for things to get worse; call a professional to assist immediately.
#4: Practice Proper Sump Pump Maintenance
Ahh, sump pump failure: the number one cause of basement floods. If your home has a sump pump, you’ve already got a great defense in combating mold, water damage, and flooding. However, simply owning a sump pump doesn’t give you a “get out of jail free” card – you’ve got to maintain it too.
If you know a huge storm is headed your way, check to make sure your sump pump is working properly and plugged in. Also, consider investing in a generator for your sump pump and a replacement to keep on hand, just in case you lost power or the pump fails when you need it most.
Keep in mind, if your basement floods as a result of a broken sump pump, your homeowner’s insurance may not cover the damage.
#5: Inspect Sewers & Clean Septic Systems
Think fast: When was the last time you had your sewer inspected or your septic tank cleaned? Like most other large-scale cleaning projects, Spring is a great time to address these issues due to the increased rainfall. Skipping out on sewer inspections and septic tank cleanings is a sure fire way to invite havoc into your home, as clogs, sewer backups, and overflows are bound to happen.
Do yourself a favor, and add this must-do home maintenance item to your list of annual home maintenance projects.
#6: Install Window Well Covers
Bottom line: Homes with below-grade basement windows should always be protected with window well covers. When fastened securely over your basement windows, and on to your home’s foundation, window well covers work wonders in waterproofing your basement, as they keep rain, leaves, and pests out.
To keep your basement bright, look for clear acrylic window well covers; you can find them at your local hardware store.
#7: Get Familiar with Your Insurance
Do you have flood insurance? Additional coverage for sewer backups? If you don’t know the answer to either of these questions, we highly suggest taking a few moments to review the details of your home’s insurance policy.
Be a Proactive Homeowner
As much as we hate to say it, owning a home is never a walk in the park. Whether problems arise from flooding, fire damage, or even mold growth, issues are bound to occur; after all, there’s no such thing as the “perfect home.” By being a proactive homeowner, you can spot small and easily fixable issues before they become full-blown disasters.