Prevent Basement Flooding

by on Thursday, May 26, 2016 9:00:00 AM
Prevent Basement Flooding

Some of us, depending on where we live, are very familiar with the experience of coming home to find that Mother Nature has turned our basement into a temporary swimming hole. Although there’s no way to remove all risk of a basement flood – even the best preventative measures still may not be enough when that next storm strikes – you can give yourself some peace of mind by taking extra steps to make sure your basement is well protected. Follow these landscape and sump pump tips to make sure you’ve done all you can to keep your basement from becoming the next Caspian Sea.

Fortify Your Sump Pump

Get into the habit of testing your sump pump on a regular schedule, and immediately replace any faulty or failing parts. To test your sump pump, pour water into the sump pit and then check that the pump turns on, removes the water, and shuts off as it’s supposed to. Remove any dirt or debris from the pump, and make sure the float and check valve are in good working order. Check the discharge line opening to ensure it’s free, and water can be pumped out without obstruction.

Installing a backup pump can help you keep your basement dry in the event of a power outage, a failed float switch, a clogged pump, freezing pipes, flooding, or mechanical failure. A battery-powered pump can keep your backup pump running for up to 12 hours. Or, you can install a pressure pump that uses your home’s water supply lines to force water out of your sump pit.

Optimize Your Landscaping

If you find that your pump is doing its job, but water is still seeping in at record speeds, your flooding issues may be the result of your landscaping choices. During the next rain storm, take a look at the space surrounding your home. Is water naturally running towards your foundation? If so, you may be able to solve your problem by reconfiguring the landscaping around your house.

Get Outside in the Downpour

Next time it starts raining hard, don your raincoat and boots and take a walk around your house’s foundation. Watch where the water begins collecting, and the path it takes to get there. This can help you decide where you may need to extend downspouts or sump pump drain lines, create gravel pits to draw water away, or fortify basement windows and doors. Now is also a good time to check your gutters, to make sure they’re unclogged and properly directing water off your roof into your downspouts.

If you find that the force of the water pouring out of your downspouts is burrowing a hole into the soft ground, consider placing a decorative stone at the base of the downspout – that way the water will hit and splash off the rock, instead of concentrating all of its force on one patch of ground.

Grade Your Lawn

If your lawn is graded (sloped) towards your house, rain water will easily flow down the slope, towards your foundation. Re-grading your entire lawn to slope in the other direction will help, but this can be expensive depending on the size of your lawn. As a more affordable option, consider creating a path to redirect the water. Dig a dry creek bed through your yard, and fill it with rocks and sand. The water will collect in the creek bed and follow its path, flowing around the sides of your house instead of straight towards your foundation.

Redirect the Water

Leave a gap between your siding and any mulch or foliage at your home’s foundation, so that moisture doesn’t rot away at the siding. If your bushes are overgrown, cut them down so that your home stands free and clear from shrubbery. If water is running into your property from hills, mountains, or uneven land nearby, build up the grass and other bushes around the perimeter of your property, to act as barriers and to redirect water before it has a chance to barge into your yard.

Flooding can damage your home’s structure, not to mention any personal items or important appliances – such as water heaters and furnaces – that you may keep in your basement. You can belay such disaster by analyzing the cause of the flooding, and putting a few preventative measures in place. Assess your landscaping, find ways to draw water away from your home, and keep your sump pump and backup pump in working order to stave off the costly disappointment of a basement flood.


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