Spring is just around the corner, and spring cleaning is on a lot of people’s minds. Almost everyone sweeps and organizes, dusts and gets rid of extra stuff, but other useful tasks often get overlooked.
You’re familiar with the old saying “April showers bring May flowers”? Perhaps a more accurate version would be “April showers bring flooded basements.” Failing to prepare for the heavy rains of spring can mean failing to avoid expensive damage to plumbing and property. Every year, too many people forget to include plumbing to their spring cleaning, and the consequences can be a huge and costly headache.
Luckily, preparing for a rainy spring is easy enough for the average person to accomplish. Check out the following tips and protect your home against the worst.
Protect your Basement from Flooding
A flooded basement is without a doubt a huge problem. It’s messy, stagnant water can become dangerous, and anything stored in the basement is likely to suffer permanent water damage. Boxes of keepsakes and important documents, food, and any other odds and ends can turn into little more than waterlogged trash.
Surely you would want to everything possible to prevent such a personal disaster from happening to you. Here are some tips every homeowner should know when it comes to a potential flood in the basement:
- Know what causes it
Any number of mishaps can cause a flooded basement, and knowing those causes is the first step to preventing their result. First of all, if the house is built in a bad spot, such as at the base of a hill where runoff accumulates, or if water gutters drain directly at the house, the structure is much more vulnerable to flooding.
Weather events like seasonal river inundations and hurricanes can also cause serious issues that require emergency sump pumps and other sewer repairs from flooded basements and pipes (often backups). VA Plumbing in Northern Virginia has recently dealt with this as hurricane Florence hits the East Coast, tips for emergency plumbing and other information. Freedom Plumbers, also in the DC area, has written about this sewer drain repair nightmare.
Poor maintenance of pipes can lead to clogs, bursts, and breaks. A weak foundation can crack and let in water. And then there are huge natural disasters against which even the best built and maintained houses don’t stand a chance. While some of these causes are going to be beyond your control, performing the proper maintenance is the best move for avoiding a flood.
- Know how to prevent it
There are a few things you can do to decrease the chance of a basement flood. First, keep your rain gutters in good shape. Make sure the drains are cleared of debris so they don’t back up. If possible, route the gutter spouts away from the house so water does not simply pour out against the foundation and make its way into the basement.
Installing a reliable sump pump with a backup power source will help control water that accumulates in the sump in the basement.
- Be prepared with flood insurance
Even the most responsible homeowners can experience a flooded basement. Residents in areas that are likely to get heavy rain or are near a body of water should have flood insurance included in their homeowner coverage.
Adding on protection will give you a little extra peace of mind, since you’ll know that at least your property is backed by insurance if flood waters do happen to come a’calling.
- Know what to do when it happens
So let’s say a big storm blew in and even after you took preventive steps, your basement still got flooded. Drying out a wet basement is admittedly not a fun task. There are professionals that can take care of a flooded basement and save the walls, carpets, and framing from further damage, but it will end up costing a lot more than if you address the problem yourself.
Opening windows, bringing in fans, and placing a dehumidifier in the space are all simple solutions to a soggy basement. Knee-deep water, or worse, needs to be pumped out, which typically should not be attempted by an amateur without assistance.