May
14

Basement Flooding Solutions

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Basement flooding is a serious problem in a home and affects thousands upon thousands of homes in just about every type of climate.  A flooded basement can be a minor nuisance, with just a bit of water trickling in through one small section of the basements on rare occasions, or it can be a major nightmare, where the entire basement fills with a few inches, or worse yet, a few feet of water, ruining all belongings housed in the basement, including very often the home’s heating and ventilation system.  Either way, basement flooding is a problem that should not be ignored.

There are a number of preventative measures that can be taken to avoid basement flooding in your home.  A basement that floods even a little bit can lead to problems such as mold and mildew growth, which can potentially lead to health problems.  So, even if you don’t remember ever having a majorly flooded basement after a storm, it is worth doing some investigating to make sure that your basement is truly protected from the elements and is really staying as dry as you think it is.

Believe me, flooded basements are not fun to deal with or to clean up.  They are huge headaches and in some cases can be totally devastating.  Basement floods and basement flood cleanup costs homeowners millions of dollars each year.  So, in order to avoid being part of that very expensive and aggravated group, it is worth employing a few of these basement flooding solutions BEFORE you have to deal with a flood in the basement.  When the rains come pouring down from the sky and you see people in your neighborhood on the news airing out all of their wet belongings, you won’t be sorry you put in a bit of effort ahead of time to keep your basement dry, and you’ll be breathing a huge sigh of relief.

Below are some preventative measures to keep your basement from flooding.  Most you can probably tackle yourself (although some are rather big DIY projects and you may want to bring in a professional for certain jobs):

  • The first thing you want to do is to thoroughly inspect your basement for any signs of previous flooding.  When a basement is flooded, even a little bit, there will usually be signs left that water was present.  You may find mold or mildew or see stains on the walls or near the windows.  If you have carpeting on the floor in your basement, it may feel a bit damp or smell musty.   Or you may simply have remembered a time in the past where there was some amount of water in your basement during a heavy rain.  If you remember or notice any signs of prior basement flooding, then take any or all of the following steps to prevent a future basement flood or even a small accumulation of water or moisture.
  • Regrade the land around the outside of your home.  The soil around your home should be graded to slope away from the foundation in order to keep water moving away from your house, rather than towards it.  If the grading has changed over the years due to erosion, you may need to regrade the soil again.  You can do this by getting additional soil to add around the home’s foundation, or you can dig up the soil that is there and move it around so it slopes away from the house.
  • Keep your guttering system (rain gutters and downspouts) free of debris so the water can flow freely away from your home, rather than running down your walls and pooling near the foundation.  If the gutters and downspouts are blocked with leaves and other debris, the water will not be able to runoff properly, causing possible basement flooding problems.  Clogged gutters can also lead to soil erosion, which can affect the grading around your foundation, so the gutters should be taken care of before you make any efforts to regrade the soil.
  • Check for cracks in the foundation walls and around windows and seal any cracks that you find.  Small cracks can be sealed with waterproof caulk, but larger cracks may be the sign of a more serious problem with your foundation and should be checked out by a professional.
  • Make sure your foundation is properly sealed and waterproofed.  If you have noticed any moisture seeping through the foundation, then it may be time to seal or re-seal the foundation walls.  This can be done as a weekend DIY project, and is only slightly more complicated than a basic paint job, although it can get rather messy.  It is worth investing in a quality waterproof sealer because most really do work better than cheap waterproof sealers.
  • If you have a sump pump, ensure that it is working properly.  This should be done at least once a year, or more often if the area you live in is prone to heavy rain and storms (and before a big storm that you know is headed your way).  If your sump pump runs off your home’s electrical system (and most do), install a backup generator to keep the sump pump operating properly even if the power goes off.  While this may not happen often, it is typically during very severe storms, where there is heavy rain and wind, that the most severe basement flooding occurs, and in many cases the home also experiences a power failure due to the weather as well, so the sump pump cannot run without a backup power source.  Even if you only need to use the backup power supply once and it keeps you from having a flooded basement, it is worth the investment.
  • Install a French drain around the perimeter of the house.  This can be done by digging up the soil surrounding the foundation and laying drainage pipes that collect water and channel it towards a location where it can properly drain away from the home, such as a storm drainage system or retention basin.  Some French drain systems are hooked into the home’s sump pump as well.  This is a pretty big job, so unless you are a DIY warrior, it is probably a job best left to a professional contractor.

So, if you’ve ever answered “yes” to the question, “has your basement flooded?”, then you would be wise to employ some of these basement flooding preventative measures before you have a major flood in your basement or discover that there is toxic mold growing inside the walls or under your flooring.  As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – and this is truly the case when it comes to the potential for avoiding basement flooding in your home.

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