When rain falls, do you start sweating just a little? Having a basement prone to flooding can be the cause of a lot of stress. If you live in an area that is prone to torrential rain or flooding problems, or even if your plumbing system has been under the weather lately, you should be prepared for a basement flood. Knowing what to do is key to prevent long-term damage to your basement.
Here are some ways to plan for a basement flood:
Keep Your Gutters and Downspouts Clean
It might seem like a stretch to say that unclean gutters and clogged downspouts could cause your basement to flood, but it is very possible. In fact, when the gutters on your home are stuffed with leaves and other debris, that water is not going to be transported away from the foundation. On the contrary, it’s going to go towards the path of least resistance—trickling down the facade of your home, right towards the foundation.
If there is even a single bit of weakness in the foundation, that water pooling around the border of your home is going to find its way inside. From there, the water could remain, undergoing the freeze-thaw cycle, widening the cracks, and eventually, infiltrating your basement.
So, if you want to curtail a flooded basement this year, make sure you are keeping the gutters unclogged. It is best to check them out at least twice a year—during spring and the beginning of autumn. But you should check more often if your yard has a lot of trees or if you just experienced an intense storm.
Change The Angle of Downspouts
Again, we can’t warn you enough about how essential gutters and downspouts are. When the downspout isn’t functioning correctly, the water getting shuttled away from your home is going to pool in places it doesn’t belong. When that happens, you could get large swathes of saturated earth all around your foundation. The dampness could negatively impact your foundation for the same reasons we mentioned above.
Keep puddles from forming around your home by angling those downspouts towards sections of the yard with better drainage or towards the road. Try to prevent water from pooling in low-lying areas too close to your home’s foundation.
Inspect Your Plumbing
Next, get a professional plumber into your home to check for leaking pipes and backed up sewer lines. Though basement leaks are often caused by roofing issues, a broken pipe somewhere in your home could be draining into the basement, too. If you notice any gurgling drains after a shower or running the dishwasher, there could be a clog backing up water and putting pressure on the system.
A plumber will be able to recommend some remedies and, ultimately, prevent basement flooding.
Install a Sump Pump or Backwater Valve
Even if you haven’t experienced a basement flood, living in an area known for flooding is a risk. That means you should invest in a sump pump. Consider a “better safe than sorry” measure. Sump pumps are ideal for removing water from the basement and storing it in a basin. This keeps minor and major flooding from getting too serious.
If you have a sump pump, make sure you are getting it inspected. Also, make sure you know how to work it.
Another option is a backwater valve. You can have this installed on the main drain. A backwater valve was designed to stop waste water from washing back into your home, but it will also work to stop water from returning if the City water system gets overwhelmed during floods. Best of all, many municipalities will help you cover the cost.
Check For Perimeter Flaws
A number of exterior and interior factors could cause basement flooding. Take a walk around your home, looking for places where the foundation is damaged. Do the same thing on the inside. Seek out areas where mold and mildew has grown or where discoloration from water damage is apparent. Get up on the roof to search for spongy sections or where water could have seeped in. Sometimes, a small hole in the roof will let moisture trickle down through the structure of the house right to the lowest point, your basement.
Don’t forget to check the windows, particularly ones that let natural light into the basement. You want to make sure all the seals are in place. If you find that there is a lot of condensation, use window well covers to stop moisture.
Install Flood Sensors
Technology can be a huge boon in planning for a basement flood. Some companies offer smart water sensors that will send you notifications when increasing moisture in the basement is sensed. That way, you are alerted before the problem gets out of hand.
What to do if Your Basement Floods
Has your basement flooded before you could implement your plan? Restoring water damage can be intimidating, and it could put a dent in your finances. But you are going to want to solve the problem sooner than later. It’s never just a little bit of water that you can ignore.
Even a small puddle of water on the basement floor can cost you thousands of dollars. Don’t delay clean up, since that can make any issues, such as mold and mildew growth, much worse.
Here are some steps to jump start the restoration of your flood basement:
- Shut the water and gas lines to your home off as soon as possible. Also, you should call the electric company, since wet electrical work may increase the chance of shock.
- Contact a plumber for emergency services. They can help you find the cause and start working on repairs immediately.
- Deodorize, sanitize, and cleanup. Make sure you remove any soaked carpets and furniture, since they will breed mildew and mold.
Having preventative measures and a plan will help you when the rain starts to fall or a pipe breaks. No one wants to deal with a flooded basement, but when you have done maintenance and installed a sump pump, such problems are much less daunting. If you have recently experienced a basement flood, be sure to get in contact with a plumber to get your restoration underway.