To avoid a flooded basement, a little preparation goes a long way.
In the Midwest, March Madness has more than one meaning. It’s “anything-can-happen month” in terms of weather. Spring showers and heavy rains are a definite possibility. And so is snow. Remember Easter of 2018? The kids were pawing through nearly a foot of snow to find their Easter eggs. What does wacky spring weather mean for you as a homeowner?
It means you need to be prepared for anything. Here at Hays + Sons, our job is to help families and businesses stay safe and recover from unexpected events like flooded basements that cause water damage. But our mission is to help you avoid these situations altogether.
So, let’s take a look at seven simple steps you can take to prepare your basement for spring.
- Get a sump pump, and keep it well maintained. If your basement has taken on water during heavy rains before, a sump pump can save your basement and personal possessions from water damage. If you already have a sump pump, have a plumber inspect it before springtime. If you’re more of a DIY type, at a minimum, check that the pump pit, valve and discharge line are clear of dirt and debris. Additionally, if your area is prone to power loss during storms, you might consider getting a generator or a battery-powered sump pump.
- Redirect or extend your downspouts. Your downspouts should move water three to six feet away from your home. If they’re currently draining directly down towards your home, purchase extenders to move water farther away. Over the winter, heavy winds and snow can cause your downspout extenders to shift. If your downspouts are improperly positioned, they may be sending water directly towards your home’s foundation, which could end up flooding your basement. Take a walk around your home when your property is snow-free and make sure your downspouts are in the right position.
- Keep your gutters clean. Gutter-cleaning is no one’s favorite project. However, when heavy spring rains fall, clogged gutters won’t allow water to move through, resulting in overflow, down the side of your house and towards your foundation. So, it’s important to clean your gutters out every fall to avoid the unpleasant surprise of a flooded basement in the spring.
- Assess your landscaping and the grade of your yard. Landscaping choices can either help or hinder your efforts to keep your basement dry. If your basement is prone to flooding, adjusting the grade of your yard to drain water away from your home could make all the difference. Also, mulching too close to the house can cause water issues, as its job is to retain moisture. Keep mulch at least two inches away from the exterior walls of your home.
- Keep your foundation in good repair. Small cracks in your foundation can lead to big problems down the line when it comes to keeping your basement dry. You can use masonry sealer to seal up small cracks, both inside and out, on your own. However, if you notice brown spots on your walls, or seepage directly into your basement, it’s time to call in the pros to water-proof your basement before you end up with water damage or a flooded crawl space.
- Maintain your sewer system or septic tank. Clogged sewer lines, or septic tanks that need to be emptied are especially vulnerable to heavy spring rains. While your municipality is responsible for maintaining the pipeline for the city’s main sewer, you are responsible for maintaining the lateral pipe that takes sewage away from your house and out to the main. Take care not to flush items like paper towels, baby wipes and feminine hygiene products, and don’t pour cooking oils down your kitchen drain. To avoid problems percolating under your house that you’re not aware of, have a plumber check your sewer line annually.
- Install window well covers (or replace broken ones.) Heavy rains can cause water to build up in and around your basement window wells. If your window frames are older or aren’t properly sealed, rainwater can make its way into your basement. It may only be a trickle, but it could end up becoming more like a swamp. Take a proactive approach against unexpected events by inspecting your basement window frames and installing (or replacing broken) window well covers.
Spring really is just around the corner. Some days it might not feel like it, but spring is coming. In the meantime, don’t get complacent when the temps hit 50 or above. Don’t forget all of your winter safety precautions to avoid frozen pipes. We never know what the madness of March might bring. And if, despite your best precautions, the unexpected does occur, the experienced, compassionate and trusted restoration professionals at Hays + Sons are standing ready to help get you back to normal, ASAP.
If you found this post helpful, you might also be interested in our, “Ultimate How-To Guide for a Flooded Basement.” It’s loaded with information to help you navigate unexpected waters.
For more than 38 years, Hays + Sons has been the property restoration company that families, businesses and schools trust. We’re committed to helping you be prepared when the unexpected strikes, and whether you need help with water damage restoration, mold remediation, fire damage restoration, storm damage restoration, contents restoration or emergency board-up service, Hays + Sons has the capacity and expertise to get you back to normal ASAP.
The compassionate, experienced and trusted restoration experts at Hays + Sons are just a phone call away, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. With offices throughout the Midwest in Fort Wayne, Crown Point, Indianapolis, Columbus, Muncie and Lafayette as well as Cincinnati, Ohio, there’s a Hays + Sons near you.