If you’ve ever dealt with a flooded basement then you know just how terrifying and destructive water inside the house can be. To prevent basement flooding, and to keep all of your valuables dry, clean, and operating the way they should, there are several tips and tricks to live by.
In this article we will examine a variety of systems and strategies to help you keep your basement accessible and operating the way it should. After all, maintaining a clean and dry basement will help you maintain your sanity and your bank account. Without further ado, here are the 6 Best Ways to Prevent Basement Flooding.
1. Inspect Your Foundation
Maintaining a healthy foundation is key to keeping your basement dry as it is literally the walls of your basement. As such, you will want to make a habit of checking on your foundation to ensure that it’s holding up against the elements and overall test of time.
Head outside and take a walk around the exterior of your home and look at the concrete just above the ground but below the brick or siding. What do you see? What you are looking for are cracks or any other visible damages. Some cracks can be filled simply and cost effectively with epoxy. If leaks continue even after the epoxy, this is likely a sign of a larger issue, at which point you should call a professional in to take a look.
2. Landscape Engineering
We promise that it is not as complicated as it sounds. In fact, not only can landscape engineering benefit your foundation and, in turn, your basement, but it’s also a great way to be active and creative at the same time! Partial sarcasm aside, the landscape and slope of your yard can have a substantial impact on the health and welfare of your foundation and basement.
What we are talking about here, specifically, is the relative slope of the property as well as the structure’s immediate surroundings. For example, if you have a flower bed that is causing water to pool up against the side of your house, you will need to reconfigure. If moving earth does not do the trick the next step would be having a French drain installed.
3. Sump Pump Maintenance
Maintaining a healthy and functional sump pump is perhaps the single best way to prevent basement flooding. A sump pump is the reservoir and pump into which all of the ground water around your foundation drains into. The sump pump proactively keeps any excess water from pooling up, and instead pumps it up and out of harms way.
Having served Metro Detroit for over 30 years, we have seen and done it all, and 9 times out of 10 when we respond to a basement leak, sump pump failure is the culprit. We’ve got some pretty hard storms here in Southeast Michigan, so if you know that a big storm is just over the horizon it’s important to be prepared. That means not only having a sump pump, but maintaining it and keeping tabs on performance. On top of that, bad storms can knock out power, rendering the electrical sump pump useless. As such, we always recommend that homeowners invest in a generator, especially if your home or property has bad drainage like what we were talking about in the previous section.
Be warned that if your basement does in fact flood due to a broken sump pump it is likely that basic homeowner’s insurance will not cover the damage.
4. Gutters and Downspouts
Keeping those gutters and downspouts is an important part of home maintenance and upkeep for many reasons, foremost among them is preventing water from pooling up close to the house. Standing water within close proximity to your house can create nasty circumstances including foul odors, more mosquitos (if they weren’t bad enough already), and of course basement flooding. As we’ve discussed already, your foundation is the most important barrier between the outside world and your basement.
The idea here is straightforward: make sure your gutters are clean and downspouts are releasing at a minimum of three feet away from your structure. If your existing downspouts aren’t getting the job done, you might consider buying downspout extensions from your local hardware store. As is the case with any and all home improvement projects, please exercise caution when trying to take on a task of your own–especially when such a task (such as gutter cleaning) requires you to climb up on a ladder.
5. Sewers and Septic
Keeping your sewers and septic clean is a big deal and a source of problems that is often ignored or overlooked. If you have not had these systems inspected recently, it may be worth your while to go ahead and schedule a visit sooner rather than later. What starts as a slow draining sink can eventually snowball into full-blown backups and flooding, which could cost you thousands of dollars in repairs and plenty of headaches on top of that. Moral of the story: staying current with sewer and septic inspections and maintenance will keep your drains draining and keep your basement dry for the long haul.
6. Flood Insurance
As momma always said, “Better safe than sorry.” This could not be more true when it comes to flood protection on your homeowner’s insurance. Take a good look at your homeowner’s insurance policy or call your agent ASAP. Are you covered in case of basement floods and sewer backups? Flood coverage upgrades on your insurance will cost you only a few extra dollars per month and will cover the cost of all of the damages–from personal property to appliances–if anything were to ever go awry.
Allowing insurance to coordinate and pay directly will also expedite the relief efforts. So take our advice, do yourself and your basement a favor and upgrade your homeowner’s insurance policy to cover basement flooding and sewer backups today!
Conclusion: Slow and Steady Wins the Race
There you have it, folks. A few of the best ways to prevent flooding in your basement. Overall, and as we have discussed, there are several straightforward, common sense strategies that you can utilize to protect your home from water. Be proactive, keep up with regular inspections and repairs, and don’t forget it!
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