How to Prevent a Flooded Basement

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In homes in flood-prone areas, basement flooding is a top household disaster threat. While you can’t control the amount of rainfall your area sees, you can take steps to reduce the impact flooding has on your home. Steps that you can take include moving water away from your home when it does rain heavily, keeping water out, or removing water if it does penetrate your home. Here’s a look at ways to avoid flooding and what to do to protect yourself in case flooding does happen in your home.

Inspect gutters, downspouts, and the foundation

Proper maintenance represents an easy way to prevent flooding in your home. Taking steps to prevent flooding and making sure excess water flows properly around and away from your home can mean the difference between a dry basement and a wet one during the rainy months.
The following section details some simple steps you can take to maintain your home and prevent flooding.
Step 1: Clean out gutters. Start by cleaning out the gutters, especially during and after the fall.
Look for obstructions or leaf buildup. Pay careful attention to frozen ice dams in the winter, which can lead to water backup.
Step 2: Maintain gutters and downspouts. Perform any repairs needed to leaky or loose gutters and downspouts.
Make sure they are water tight and not loose from the edge of the roof. Apply sealant if needed to repair leaks.
Step 3: Look for problem areas. Check the grade of your yard and see if you can find any areas where water collects around your home.
If needed, improve the grade of your yard to move water away from your home. You can also put extensions on your downspouts to move water further away from your house.
Step 4: Look at the foundation. Inspect the foundation, or the basement walls and floors, looking for any cracks that could let in water.
Fill in any cracks in the foundation, basement floors, and walls with masonry sealer.

Install a sump pump

In addition to maintaining your gutters, downspouts, and foundation, you need to take precautions in case water does find its way into your basement. Most homeowners in areas that see flooding opt to use a sump pump to remove unwanted water. The section below talks about sump pumps in more detail.
Most sump pumps come on automatically when the water in your basement reaches a certain level. And while a sump pump can’t remove all of the water in your basement, it can keep water levels from getting too deep.
If your sump pump has a battery, make sure it is properly and fully charged. You should also install a backup generator to keep the sump pump running for times when the power goes out and the pump battery fails. Alternatively, some homes even have a backup sump pump, just in case something goes wrong with the first one or the flooding becomes an overwhelming issue.

Clean sewer lines and septic tanks

While completing home maintenance in the spring, have your sewer inspected to make sure the lines are clear of debris. If your home uses a septic tank, consider having it cleaned by a septic tank cleaning service. This can keep the sewers or septic tank from backing up during periods of heavy rainfall and causing a backup into your home.
Keep in mind that flooding from an outside source, as well as sewage and water backup, are not covered perils on many home insurance policies.

Buy the proper insurance

If you live in an area that sees frequent flooding, you should seriously consider getting flood insurance. Keep in mind that you usually have to wait a certain period of time before flood insurance kicks in once you get it, so don’t wait until the flooding begins to do so.
In addition to providing coverage for flood damage to your home, flood insurance also provides protection for any equipment or appliances damaged by the flood waters in your home.
Protecting your home from flood damage requires more than just performing the proper maintenance. You also need to have a plan in place if flood waters penetrate your basement, usually in the form of a sump pump. Also remember to get the proper flood insurance, which can help cover any damage done to your home when your basement does get flooded.

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