Helpful Tips to Prevent Basement Flooding
One of the greatest disasters that can befall your home is to have the basement flood. Like most homeowners, you probably use your basement for both leisure and storage. Everything from holiday decorations and exercise equipment to full bars and entertaining spaces are entrusted within the confines of a basement. Whatever it may be, it’s safe to assume that most of the items in this area of your home are valuable and vulnerable to water damage should they be exposed. A flooded basement can also lead to water damage in the rest of your home, costing thousands of dollars in repairs and replacements. Thankfully, this problem is preventable, and with the right precautions in place, you’ll understand how to prevent basement flooding in your home through any season.
Why Does My Basement Always Flood When it Rains?
Basements can get flooded due to a number of causes, sometimes only happening once in a blue moon, and other times it seems to happen every time it even so much as sprinkles outside. In order to understand just how to stop your basement from flooding, it’s first important to understand why it’s happening so you know just how to resolve the issue. There could be a number of potential causes, some easier to fix than others.
Clogged Gutters or Failing Downspouts
Gutters may be the last thing you think of considering they’re on your roofline, but if they’re clogged and not doing the job of running water away from your home, that runoff is going directly into the ground next to your home’s foundation. Gutters need to be free from tree and other debris that would block the flow of water, and downspouts should not drain the water out until at least five to six feet away from the home.
The Location of Your Home
Unfortunately, this is one of those issues that doesn’t offer a simple solution. Homes that are built at a lower grade than the homes around them are susceptible to the water runoff draining towards their foundations which finds its way into basements over time. The same goes for homes that are built at or near the bottom of hills. There are also homes that get built in flood-prone areas near creeks, streams, and rivers. Although flooding may be rare in some of these areas, your home could still be at risk should a heavy rainstorm hit the area.
Most homes that are located in areas that see regular heavy rainfall, hurricanes, or heavy snowfall should be built or equipped with proper weather protection. All of that excess moisture turns into groundwater that can easily seep into your basement over time. If there’s any sort of hairline crack in your foundation, water will find its way in. The outside of the foundation should be protected with a waterproof sealant. However, even if the house did have this at one time, this sealant is prone to deterioration over time, so it is essential to re-do this weatherproofing as soon as issues present themselves.
An Improper or Degraded Drainage System
Drain or weeping tile should be built underneath the basement and around the home to help move water away and prevent it from seeping into the home. Flooding could be due to this important piece being improperly installed or simply failing or degrading over time.
Your home may be equipped with a sump pump, but if it breaks, your home is left incredibly susceptible to flooding. These typically handle flooding by collecting excess water from your foundation or rainfall and immediately draining it away from your home. Depending on where your home was built and what issues your home may be at risk of, the sump pump may be always running. The sump pump needs electricity to work, so if your power goes out, your basement could be at risk. Just like any other appliance, sump pumps are subject to eventual failure and need to be replaced, so ensure it receives regular testing and inspections.
How Do I Keep my Basement from Flooding?
With the possible causes in mind, there are several ways you can resolve your home’s basement flooding, each dependent on the cause. However, if you notice any of these potential issues but have not yet experienced basement flooding, it may be time to fix the issues so you never have to deal with it in the future.
Have your Gutters and Downspouts Regularly Cleaned and Maintained
Cleaning the gutters and downspouts around your home is an essential task that should be done yearly at a minimum. At Aerotech, we professionally clean and inspect residential gutter systems a minimum of four times per year as part of our gutter maintenance program. This will ensure the water is always able to flow properly and efficiently to keep your home safe. Some homeowners elect to do this on their own, but it’s a task that can be downright dangerous. Plus, it would be easy to miss any necessary repairs that need to be done. Instead, it’s recommended to contact a professional for expert and thorough gutter cleaning. if necessary, a reputable company such as Aerotech should handle any necessary gutter repairs.
Re-Grade the Perimeter
If your home is one that is located at a not-so-great elevation, you may be able to prevent your basement from flooding by re-grading the perimeter. Essentially, you need to ensure your home sits on top of its own hill. Make sure the soil and foundation surrounding the perimeter of your home rests on a slight incline to encourage drainage away from the house. Doing this means that all the water that ends up in your lawn will flow toward the street instead of into your basement. It is advisable to have a grade of roughly two inches for every foot leading away from the house to prevent flooding. Unfortunately, for those located in flood plains or similar areas, it will require quite a bit more protection as there’s not much that can stop floods from rivers or other bodies of water. However, you could take this same notion of grading and apply it by building a berm, or larger hill of land, surrounding your property to help keep floodwaters out.
Have Your Foundation Waterproofed
This isn’t necessarily the smallest project as it requires digging down to the basement footer around the entire foundation, but if you are regularly experiencing flooding, it will save you money and headaches in the long run. Just be sure that if you do need to go this route, you choose a reputable company for the job.
Repair Your Home’s Drain Tile
Again, not a small project, but one that may be absolutely necessary. If the drain tiles under and surrounding your home are failing, every other potential fix would be nothing more than a temporary bandage solution. Replacing or repairing the drain tiles is a job that needs to be left to an experienced, reputable company.
Test, Repair, or Replace the Sump-Pump
Like any other machine, the sump pump requires regular, routine maintenance checks to ensure it is fully operational. The best way to test the sump pump is to open up the cover and pull on the floater. This floater should cause the sump pump to activate. If it does not, the pump needs to be replaced. If possible, ensure your sump pump is hooked up to some form of battery backup to keep it running whether or not your home has power.
Take the First Step to Protect Your Basement from Flooding with Help From the Gutter Experts
While these are just a few of the methods you can employ to keep your basement dry and protect your home from water damage, the bottom line is making sure you stay on top of your home maintenance for a dry basement throughout the lifetime of your home. We at Aerotech can easily keep your gutters and downspouts clean and functioning properly as an effective defense against basement flooding. Plus, during our cleanings, if we notice any necessary repairs, we’ll let you know immediately and even provide an accurate quote on-site.
Contact the gutter experts at Aerotech today and start protecting your home from water damage.