April showers bring May flowers…since we are well into May and the rains seem never-ending, let’s talk basement flooding while we wait for the sun to reemerge. Spring rains often bring out the worst in flawed grading and foundations, leaving homeowners with a mess to clean up.
If you’ve never dealt with basement flooding before, there’s a set procedure to getting things back in order. First, get rid of the water. If you don’t have a sump pump, you can rent one from some home improvement stores. If more than a few inches of water have already accumulated, you may need to call a professional. Once the water is removed, you need to provide as much ventilation as possible to decrease the possibility of mold growth. Open all the windows and doors, and use fans to increase air circulation. My suggestion – follow these simple guidelines from the National Restoration Network to reduce your risk for basement flooding.
Gutters & Downspouts
Keep gutters free of debris and position downspouts away from the foundation. The goal is to drain storm water at least three feet away. In a pinch, you can purchase inexpensive downspout extenders at most big box stores. If necessary, consider running extensions or troughs.
Inspect the exterior foundation and your basement’s walls and floors. Use epoxy to fill any foundation cracks and if warning signs are detected, apply masonry sealer indoors. If the problem is more serious, it is time to call in a professional.
If you have a below-grade sump pump, check to make sure the well is free of debris. If you have a portable pump, position it in the lowest part of the basement and be sure it’s connected to a power source.
Sewers & Septics
If you haven’t had your sewer inspected or your septic tank cleaned, spring is a good time to address these concerns. During periods of prolonged, heavy rainfall, clogged sewers and over-taxed septics are disasters waiting to happen.
Window Well Covers
If you have below-grade basement windows, install window well covers that will fasten securely to your home’s foundation. Clear acrylic covers will allow light to enter, even as they keep out rain, leaves, and pests.
Remember a sump pump only works if you have power. If you live in an area plagued with frequent storms and power outages, a generator may be a long-term investment worth considering.
Review your property insurance policy and consider additional coverage, especially if you have a finished basement. Usually, homeowners’ insurance does not cover flooding or sewer backups.
How are you handling this especially rainy spring?