Welcome spring – buds, warm weather and… rain. Protect your home from the dangers of spring thaw – a flooding basement!
Spring is always such a much anticipated time of year. As the weather gets warmer, we enjoy longer days, buds on trees and seedlings emerging from the earth – hello, crocuses! – and more time outdoors. But, to help make our worlds green again, also comes the rain at the same time as everything melts.
And that makes for a lot of water around our homes. If you’re not prepared, this can mean the possibility of disaster – water seeping into the walls of your foundation. A flooding basement is often the frustrating and costly result of rain and winter runoff.
Flooding basement? What you can do
If you find water seeping into your home as the snow retreats, here’s what you should do:
- The priority is, of course, to remove the water. If the water goes unnoticed and isn’t removed immediately, there can be costly and dangerous consequences – and that means mould!
- With the water removed, you have to dry everything very thoroughly. Ensure the space has ample ventilation to help dry everything as quickly as possible. And to help prevent mould. Do you have windows you can open? Do so, and bring in fans if necessary to increase the circulation of air.
- Quite likely, soaked, porous items such as paper documents, newspapers, and cardboard boxes will need to be tossed. Saturated porous items are highly vulnerable to mould.
- Are your carpets and rugs saturated? If they can be dried thoroughly and quickly, you can keep them. If not, you’ll have to remove and replace them.
- Is your drywall saturated? Likely, you’ll have to replace the damaged areas.
It is very hard work to clean up the results of a flooding basement. It can also be very expensive. To prevent expensive losses, read on to protect your basement before a disaster.
Prevent costly basement flood!
From an insurance perspective, we can’t stress enough how important it is to always have a list of the contents of your basement. It’s often a dropzone of things, from keepsakes to important documents. What is the condition of your basement? Is it finished – drywall walls and ceilings? Carpet or laminate flooring? The state of your basement can significantly impact the cost of fixing and replacement in the event of basement flooding.
But, not to worry, if you invest the time and a little money into some valuable prevention, it can save you a tone of time, work, and costly repairs, not to mention possible heartache if you lose those items you hold dear.
What can you do to protect your home from basement flooding? Here’s a brief checklist to help you prepare:
1. Cracks in your foundation – repair them!
Spring is in the air! This is the time to examine the foundation around the exterior of your home. Thoroughly inspect the interior basement walls and floors. You can fill them with crack filler for masonry concrete applied with a caulking gun if you notice cracks. To differentiate the tiny shrinkage cracks that occur in homes of all ages from more significant and troublesome cracks, consider hiring an experienced contractor to identify and repair any problems.
2. Keep your gutters and downspouts clear
Gutters collect dirt and debris all year long. Once you can access them safely in the spring, clear your gutters of anything that collects. Position your downspouts so they effectively direct any water away from the foundation of your home. A handy guideline is to direct the water no fewer than three feet from your home’s foundation. You might need extensions to ensure you can achieve this distance.
3. Inspect your window wells
Most basement windows are below the grade of your property. These windows can pose problems during spring melt and the source of basement flooding. But, to protect your windows from water, install window well covers that fasten securely to the foundation. They’re typically made from clear acrylic to allow light into your basement as they help protect the wells from leaves, pests, and, of course, rain.
4. Check your sewer or septic system
If you haven’t done it recently, springtime is a good time to have your septic field checked and possibly pumped. Keep in mind that, during periods of increased rain, an overtaxed septic system or a blocked sewer is simply a potentially costly disaster waiting to happen.
5. Sump pump? Check it!
If you use a below-grade sump pump, keep it free of debris. If yours is a portable pump, it should be located in the lowest part of the basement. Check to ensure that it’s plugged in!
6. Check your home insurance policy
It never hurts to review your home insurance policy. Do you have coverage in the event of basement flooding? If you feel vulnerable to seasonal flooding? Additional coverage, especially if you have a fully finished basement, might be a good idea.