Most of us are happy to see that the spring thaw has arrived and warmer weather is upon us. However, melting snow and spring rains can wreak havoc on our homes. In order to prevent water from seeping in, and the water damage that follows, it’s important to know how to prevent flooding from reaching our foundations in the first place. After snowmelt, rainwater is the biggest culprit when it comes to spring flooding problems invading your home’s foundation. For snowmelt the solution is easy: just pile the snow far away from the base of your home to give it time to absorb into the ground before it reaches your house. For rainwater, the answer is a little more complicated.
The first thing to do before heavy rain is to check your gutters and downspouts to make sure they’re clear. Clogged gutters allow water to seep down around your foundation and if there is a foundation crack the water will find a way in. If you see foundation cracks use a concrete patch to fill those holes. If you find a larger issue, however, you may want to call in a professional to ensure that the foundation is repaired in the proper way.
If you have not installed them, downspout extensions are a good idea to keep water away from your home. Make sure they are at least several feet long so that water is directed away from the foundation. Remember, flood insurance doesn’t cover seepage, so if the ground is so wet that it seeps through your foundation and causes flooding your insurance coverage will likely be little or nothing.
Making sure your sump pump is in good working order is a good way to protect your home from basement floods. The key is to keep water flowing away from the home; so make sure that the sump pump drains on a downhill that runs away from your foundation.
It’s also a good idea to check the grading around your house every spring. Again, make sure that the grade keeps the water flowing away from your house. This may involve some digging and moving dirt, but it’s worth it to keep flooding away from the house.
Finally, make sure window wells are covered. While they do allow light and ventilation to your basement, without covers they can also let floodwaters in and that’s a mess that no one needs.