Did you know that 98 percent of basements will experience water damage in their lifetime? This means if you have a basement, you are at risk even if you have never had issues with your basement before.
There are a variety of things that can cause flooding, one major cause being rainfall. But there are other ways basements can flood as well, which is why there are so many preventative measures a new homeowner can take. If you live in a high-risk flood area because of storms, you need to know how to prevent flooding.
Read on to learn how new homeowners and anyone who owns a basement can prevent damage caused by flooding.
1. Clean the Gutters
Even the top of the line gutters that divert water properly need to have a regular maintenance schedule to prevent basement flooding. A clogged gutter is not useful because it causes water to spill over the sides instead of down the rain spouts.
It is recommended to remove any debris from the gutters at least twice a year. However, other circumstances may necessitate the need to clean out your gutters more than twice a year. For example, having trees near the house could cause the gutters to become full of leaves more often.
If you are unsure if your gutters are working, you can use a hose to test them. With a hose, you can check if water can move freely through the gutters until it is diverted away from the home. This is also a good way to clean out any gunk that may be hiding in your gutters.
Blocked gutters may lead water into basements as roof water spills down toward your home's foundation. If you have asphalt roofing, it is also important to check for loose particles. Tighten these loose ends and spout extensions if necessary.
2. Extend Downspouts
Just like gutters, downspouts should have a regular maintenance schedule. When they are cleaned right and positioned away from the foundation of the home, water won't pool up near the exterior walls of your basement. If necessary, you should extend your downspouts to direct water away from the home. Generally, water should get directed at least three feet away.
This is a prevalent cause of basement flooding since new homeowners tend to overlook how important it is to maintain the downspout. You may find it annoying, but it is better than having your basement flooding. Plus, completing maintenance and extending downspouts takes little to no time and is affordable.
3. Ensure the Lawn is Properly Graded
To avoid the need for hiring plumbing services for pumping out water in the basement, ensure the ground next to the foundation slopes away. This allows rainwater to divert away from your home’s foundation.
For new homeowners, this may be a difficult concept to figure out because it can be gradual and hard to notice. However, it is easier to learn about.
When it starts to rain outside, take notice of any water pooling close to your home. If this doesn’t happen, your lawn is properly graded. If you do find pooling issues, then your lawn should get fixed by a landscaper or you should have a drain installed to prevent basement flooding.
4. Install a French Drain
A French drain can aid in serious water problems. This drainage system is generally a trench with a perforated pipe that moves water away from your home. This may be a necessary drain to install if you are having pooling issues that a landscaper cannot fix.
5. Seal Basement Gaps
If water is pooling around your foundation, there is a more likely chance that your basement will flood. This is especially true if basement gaps are not sealed. Even the smallest cracks in concrete walls or around plumbing pipes may cause big issues.
These gaps can get sealed with hydraulic cement or polyurethane. If you want this done professionally—and done right—you should hire a plumbing service.
As a new homeowner, you may have opted for a used home. If the home is old enough, there could be more cracks in the foundation than you think as the home settles in. Even when these cracks don't hurt the foundation itself, they must get filled to prevent water from seeping in.
It is important to check your home's foundation every so often to ensure cracks don't accumulate over time. Even if you don't see any when you first move in, that does not mean you are automatically in the clear.
6. Waterproof Walls
To prevent flooding you can also waterproof the interior basement walls. By applying sealant, you can prevent condensation from happening. To waterproof the walls, use concrete coatings or sealers, waterproofing paint, plastic sheets, or plastic panels.
You may also opt for waterproofing the exterior walls to fix foundation gaps. This should get done before moving in because it requires excavating around the house. Although this job is costly, it is far less expensive than dealing with a flooded basement—making it well worth the cost.
7. Install a Sump Pump
A sump pump is a device made to protect the foundation against flooding by pumping water out that gets into the sump basin. These devices can combat flooding, water damage, and mold. If the water level in the basement rises, the sump pump automatically moves the water outside.
These devices are typically installed on the lowest spot of your basement floor. It uses electricity to turn on when necessary.
If you live in an area with frequent storms that cause power outages, it is recommended to purchase a generator too. This means the sump pump can still do its job even if the electricity is out. There is also the option to buy a sump pump that is battery operated for backup.
Your sump pump needs proper maintenance to ensure it will work when you need it to. Sump pump failure is more common than you may think.
When you know a storm is coming your way, check to make sure your sump pump is plugged in and working. If your home floods because of a broken sump pump, your insurance may not cover the cost of damages.
Hiring plumbing services is the best way to get this done for an affordable price. Professional plumbers will be able to give you a valid recommendation on whether or not you should invest in a sump pump and what type would be best for your home.
8. Maintain Plumbing and Waste Systems
Generally, rainwater is the biggest threat when it comes to basement flooding causes. However, there is always a chance that your sewage or a leaky pipe could be the culprit.
Any part of your system that you notice isn't working properly should get taken care of by a professional service. Even the smallest leak should get fixed right away before it causes major flooding damage to your home.
It's hard to tell when you have a sewer system issue until it is too late. Because of this, it’s a good idea to get your sewer inspected at least once a year.
Cleaning the septic system is just as important as getting your sewage system checked. You can get these two things done at the same time. Without drain services and the right maintenance for your systems, you are sure to come across overflows, backups, and clogs.
If a storm drain is near your home, it is a good idea to keep an eye on them too. Although the city should maintain these for you, they can cease functioning at times. If you notice issues with storm drains, call your city to have them cleaned out before they can cause issues to your home.
By requesting a plumbing diagnosis and inspection, you can gain a better grasp on the intricacies of your own system. Moreover, the professionals at Mr. Rooter can let you know if you have an issue with your plumbing system that needs maintenance or repairs right away.
9. Install Window Well Covers
If you are a new homeowner, you may be unaware that a home with below-grade windows needs to get protected by window well covers. When these covers are professionally installed and fastened securely over the windows, you can prevent flooding. If you want bright light in your basement, use clear acrylic window well covers.
10. Consider Your Insurance Policy
New homeowners have to think about home insurance that covers all of their needs. If you live in a flood risk zone like a place where there is a lot of rainfall, you should consider getting insurance.
In addition to flood insurance, you should consider additional coverage for sewer backups. Although these steps won't prevent basement flooding, they will help lower your costs of flooding if it happens to occur.
11. Wet Weather Flooding
Most basement floods happen during wet weather because of surface water inflow. Heavy rain that causes flash flooding results in streams of water pouring in—unless the necessary precautions are taken.
Basement flooding also occurs when there is excessive groundwater around the foundation. As a new homeowner, you should check if the home has a built-in drainage system to safeguard against excess groundwater. The drainage system is inadequate when the water table rises and allows water to seep in through holes and foundation cracks.
Heavy rain can cause your sewage drain to get blocked or overloaded. If the backup rises higher than the basement level, wastewater can flow into your house. It will enter through the lowest basement drain like a floor drain, shower drain, sink drain, or toilet drain.
12. Dry Weather Flooding
Some may not consider flooding during dry weather because it is less common. There is still a risk that your basement can flood even without excessive rainfall.
The pipe that connects the plumbing system to the main sewer line is known as a sanitary lateral. Roots can penetrate this pipe causing a sewage backup. A sewage backup can also occur if you flush items down the toilet that block the sanitary lateral.
When your sanitary lateral fails, wastewater flows up through the lowest basement drain causing it to flood.
Basement floods can also happen because of a burst pipe or water heater corrosion. These issues occur when there is a lack of maintenance. Floods can also happen due to frozen pipes bursting.
Frozen pipes happen during the colder seasons, but can be prevented. You can combat this issue by turning on your faucets to allow a bit of water to run to keep the water moving. You can also get windows and doors weather-stripped.
Count On Mr. Rooter Plumbing to Help Prevent Basement Flooding!
As a new homeowner, you have never had to consider the effects of basement flooding. Some may lead you to believe it's something you shouldn't even worry about. However, this is not the case because there is always a possibility that it could happen.
If you live in an area with plenty of rainfall, it is important to consider the needs of your basement. By using this guide, you can take proactive steps to prevent basement flooding.