Often, when a call comes in to a plumber, the conversation starts with, “Help! I just…” followed by a description of the emergency our customer is experiencing. Whether it’s “had a pipe burst,” “can’t get my toilet to flush,” or “found out my outside faucet is frozen solid,” a large percentage of customers are dealing with situations that need immediate attention.
But did you know that some problems can be avoided?
And one of those problems is basement flooding!
Let’s take a look at 6 ways to prevent basement flooding before it happens!
- Maintain proper grading. Remember when you were a kid on the playground? Playing kickball, hopscotch, or riding the swings? When you climbed the sliding board ladder, where did you expect to end up at the end of your journey? Of course, at the bottom! So why do we expect anything different from water drainage around our homes? Take a quick spin around your residence and check if the ground or landscaping could be directing water towards your house. It’s only logical that water running towards your house is going to end up in the lowest place… your basement!
- Keep your gutters clean. Gutters are on your roof, so if you have a problem in the basement, you may dismiss them as a probable reason, right? Wrong! If gutters are clogged, or not adequately directing water away from your home, they are not doing their job. The principal function of gutters is to divert water AWAY from your house, and all that water has to go somewhere. Grab a ladder and check those rainspouts, then double-check the downspouts to make sure the water is actually being sent far from your home’s foundation, using extenders if necessary. In extreme circumstances, underground pipes can be installed to make absolutely certain that rainwater isn’t making its way back into the house.
- Check your foundation. Basement flooding may have nothing to do with plumbing at all! Take a look at the exterior foundation of your house, as well as your basement’s walls and floors. Does anything look damaged? If so, use epoxy to fill any foundation cracks. Do you see signs of moisture? Believe it or not, building materials like concrete, brick, and stone are porous materials, which means they have minute spaces and holes through which liquid may pass. Through a process called capillary action, porous materials can even wick or absorb water. Masonry sealer can often stop these effects completely. If foundation maintenance seems out of your league, consider contacting a trusted contractor!
- Inspect below-grade basement windows. Below grade basement windows provide light and a means of escape in a fire or other emergency, but they also may be a source of water in your basement. Check the windows themselves for signs of breakdown, and replace as needed. Consider clear acrylic window well covers to block water, leaves, and pests while still allowing light to enter.
- Clean Floor Drains. Floor drains are a great feature in your basement… if they’re working! Next time you’re in the shower, stand on the drain and see how quickly the tub fills with water. Floor drains that are free of dirt and debris have a much better chance of keeping up with any water that does make it into your cellar, so make sure they are regularly cleaned and ready to do their job.
- Sump pumps and generators. The best approach to guarantee that your basement stays dry in any weather is to have a functioning sump pump. If you are unfamiliar with the benefits they provide, make sure you check out our blog on sump pumps for a complete rundown of how they protect your home. (Available HERE) Regularly test your sump pump by pouring a 5-gallon bucket of water into the pit and assure the system is working correctly. A secondary pump, which will kick in if your first pump dies or isn’t able to keep up with the amount of water in your basement, is also a good idea to protect your family and home. Sump pumps can’t run without power, so a backup power source, such as a generator, may also be necessary to assure water doesn’t build up in the event of a power outage!
Our goal at Heiland Home Services is to help our customers avoid future emergencies before they happen, so that when the unavoidable does take place, you’ll know who to call for a company that has your best interests in mind! If you need advice on basement flooding prevention, are interested in a quote for sump pump installation, or have experienced a flood and are in need of plumbing repairs, contact Heiland Home Services, your ‘go to’ for local residential plumbing services, today!