A flooded basement is not only inconvenient – it causes substantial damage and additional problems. According to FloodSmart.gov, all 50 states experienced floods or flash floods in the past five years. In high-risk areas, you’re more likely to deal with flood than fire.
Here are a few tips to prevent basement flooding no matter where you live, so you can stay dry and secure.
Check Gutters & Downspouts
Check your home’s gutters and downspouts before storm season. Gutters often accumulate leaves, dirt, and branches which impede water flow. Water should flow freely through the downspouts and away from your foundation. Position the flow at least 6 feet away and not into an underground well or footer drain tiles. This causes roof water to saturate the ground and enter your basement.
Inspect The Foundation & Basement Floor
Take a stroll around the perimeter of your home and check for cracks. Inspect the basement for moisture, too. If you notice high humidity in the basement, call a professional contractor. You may need a dehumidifier or sump pump, or it may be a sign of an undetected leak somewhere.
You can repair minor cracks yourself with epoxy on the exterior and masonry sealer indoors. However, these products will not resist the pressure water exerts on large cracks. You’ll need professional assistance.
Walk the Yard
When plants and trees mature, they often change how water travels over your yard. If you see water pooling, seek the advice of a landscaper or excavation contractor. They will recommend ways to regrade your yard so water moves away from your home and reduces the likelihood of flooding your basement. If you have silver maples in your yard, they may pierce pipes and your home’s foundation, so you may want to remove them before they cause problems.
Clean Sewer Lines & Septic Tanks
Most homeowners don’t consider a sewer pipe inspection for their home until dirty wastewater’s gushing into their basement. If you have an older home or you detect problems, a plumbing company can clear the line relatively inexpensively. If you hear gurgling sounds or notice water backing up from drains and toilets, or if you smell sewage, get the line cleaned before it becomes a major issue.
If your home runs on a septic tank, an annual clean is vital. Heavy or persistent rains can flood the tank into your yard and sewage can seep into your basement.
Provide Emergency Power
Your home needs power to provide service for your sump pump, furnace, septic tank, refrigerator, and well water. If you do not have back up power, you could come home to spoiled food, a very cold home, and a flooded basement.
You can buy propane or natural gas generators that start up as soon as the electricity goes out. They offer automatic and long-term protection, but many homeowners install a backup battery for their sump pump, too.
Install a Warning System
You can buy water alarm systems that alert you if there’s a problem in your home. Alternatively, you can use a home security company service to alert you via a text message if your basement floods.
Ensure you have your plumber and electrician’s telephone numbers readily available so you can call them if you receive an alert.
Review Your Insurance Coverage
Many homeowners assume they’re covered for water problems because they have a homeowner’s insurance policy. However, your homeowner’s policy does not cover flooding. While your homeowner’s insurance may cover water damage due to things like burst pipes, it will not cover any damage from water that enters your home at ground level and originates from a natural source – like rain. This is considered “flooding” and requires a separate flood insurance policy.
Talk to your independent insurance agent about what’s right for you. Don’t wait until disaster strikes. Insurance pays $1.9 billion per year in flood insurance claims, but you’ll pay the price if you don’t have proper coverage.