Residential water and mold damage costs insurance companies around $2.5 billion annually, with much of that damage happening in basements. When your basement floods during a storm or after a water leak, the resulting damage to your floors, siding, and foundation, including potential mold, can be costly and disruptive to repair. Luckily, there are specific things you can do to protect your basement. Here are five tips for preventing basement flooding:
Install a Sump Pump
If you live in an area at all prone to flooding or your basement has already flooded in the past, you definitely need to consider sump pump installation. Sump pumps work by sensing the presence of water (often before homeowners realize there is a problem), and then turning on their pumping mechanism, which is usually an automatic process. The sump pump then pumps water out of the basement and away from your home and foundation via pipes.
Just the presence of a sump pump is enough to prevent flooding and water damage in many cases. Some homeowners choose to install a backup generator for their sump pump to ensure it works in severe storms that may disrupt your electrical power.
Don't Neglect Your Gutters and Downspouts
It may seem counter-intuitive that water that starts off on your roof can make its way to your basement and lead to flooding, but unfortunately, that's exactly what can happen if gutters and downspouts are neglected. Gutters must be cleaned regularly (most experts say twice a year) and free of leaves and debris in order for rainwater to effectively move through your gutters and away from your home.
Your downspouts need to be positioned in such a way that they direct water away from your foundation. If you notice during storms that rainwater seems to go straight toward your home from your downspouts, instead of outward to your yard, consider adding downspout extenders.
Add Window Well Covers
If your basement has windows at all, they need to be protected by window well covers, which you can purchase at most home improvement stores. Window well covers act as a layer of protection between your basement windows and the elements. In addition to helping keep rain and snow away from your basement, simple window well covers can also make your basement more energy efficient by preventing cold air from entering in the winter and warm air from entering in the summer.
Adjust Your Landscaping if Needed
If you have existing issues with basement flooding and water damage, there's a good chance your landscaping is partially to blame. If your yard is even very slightly sloped toward your home, rainwater and snowmelt will flow toward your home instead of away from it, easily leading to basement flooding. An experienced landscaping company can quickly determine if your yard is graded incorrectly and offer suggestions. In some cases, French drains can be added. These exterior drains move rainwater away from your home from different points in your yard.
Have Your Sewer and Septic Tank Inspected
Over time, the septic tank and sewage system on your property can become clogged with water, leaves, tree branches, and other debris. This eventually leads to back-ups, which may flood your basement and can be costly to repair. Having your sewer and septic tank professionally inspected once a year or so is an easy preventative measure. If needed, your septic tank can then be cleaned out before any serious problems occur.
Basement flooding is extremely inconvenient and can be expensive to repair, but it's often preventable. By following these tips, you can rest easy knowing you've been proactive in preventing your basement from flooding and water damage.