Your basement is a valuable room in your home, helpful for storage or expanded living space, but unlike many of the other rooms of your home, your basement is at a higher risk of flooding year round. As we dip into the colder months, this danger can become more unpredictable as snow and ice cycles through forming on your home or yard, then melting as temperatures rise during the day. Never fear though, there are a few simple steps you can take with your home to prevent flooding.
Seal Cracks- The first thing you’ll want to do is look for and repair any cracks in your basement. Particularly if you have an older home, some cracks may have appeared on the wall as the ground below the foundation has shifted, creating vertical cracks. These can be sealed with epoxy or masonry sealer. If you see larger horizontal cracks, or the small vertical cracks begin to grow in size, this can indicate larger issues and you’ll want to have your foundation inspected by a professional.
Inspect sewer or septic system- This is usually a more involved process, and will probably require assistance of a professional, but inspecting your sewage or septic system for possible issues will help prevent expensive flooding damage down the road. When these systems back up, you end up with raw sewage and rainwater flooding into your basement, which can cause significant damage as well as create an opportunity for health risks. Problems with either the sewer or septic system can come from shifting ground, tree root growth, or accidental damage during construction work. Inspections can be completed using a camera that’s run down the relevant piping. If you have a septic system, you will usually need it pumped once every three years, but this may vary based on your usage as well as the size of the septic tank.
Install a sump pump- Even if you do everything right, there’s always a chance of some flooding if you get unusually high rains. A sump pump will go a long way towards keeping basement safe. There are a number of types of sump pumps to choose from, and you’ll want to consider your home and the possibility of flooding when choosing one. A combination sump pump runs off of the home power but has a battery backup, and can be incredibly helpful if you’re at a high risk of flooding and power loss, but may represent too high of an investment if your home isn’t really at such a high risk. There are a variety of options to choose from, so take your time with the decision.
Take a look at your landscaping- Your yard can play a big part in flooding for your basement as well. Checking the grading of the lawn to ensure that rainfall isn’t going to drain towards your home is a good first step. Also identifying large trees close to the home who’s roots could be a potential hazard is another. If your basement has below ground level windows, take a look at how they’re set in the yard, if they’re in a well, you want to install some kind of covering or drainage to prevent them from becoming an opportunity for dangerous pooling.
Inspect and repair your gutters- Of course we saved our favorite for last. If your home’s gutters aren’t in good repair, they can create a risk for your basement. Water from your roof is meant to drain away from your home, diverted as far from the foundation as possible. Leaking or sagging gutters, however, can cause that water to drain directly next to your home and can create significant basement issues. Pooled water against the house can seep in, creating small leaks. Worse, over time the improperly drained rainfall can wash away soil from around your foundation, creating instability that could create even more expensive issues. Regular gutter cleaning and repair is incredibly important for keeping your home safe and in good repair, and your basement is just one part of your home that benefits.
We hope this has given you a great start to protecting your basement, be it a finished family den or a raw storage area, it’s a worthwhile part of your home, and deserves your attention. If you have any concerns about your gutter system, contact us for a free quote today!