Avoid Basement Flooding During the Spring Thaw

It’s great to have a basement in your home. It’s a place where you can store important or seasonal items, wash and dry your clothes, and even let your kids play video games or “Pin the Tail on the Donkey.”

But if your basement floods during the spring thaw, it’ll become a place where you are storing worthless, waterlogged items; washing, drying, and rewetting your clothes; and letting your kids play Marco Polo and “Guess the Creature Swimming by the Wall.”

That’s why you should take all necessary measures to prevent your basement from being struck by flooding. Here are some ways to avoid this calamity:

  • Fix leaky or blocked pipes or spigots. If you have a spigot or pipe that is loose or cracked, water can drain into your basement. If debris has caused a blockage in an interior pipe, use a plumbing snake or similar tool to remove it.
  • Put in a backwater valve. However, if the blockage is in your municipal sewer line, water can back up through your pipes and escape into your basement. A backwater valve will automatically close off your home from the sewer if water starts to back up.
  • Install (or inspect) a sump pump. Hopefully, your basement already has a sump pump, so be sure to check its well and make sure there’s no debris in it. If your basement is without a sump pump, have one installed promptly (also, a backup battery-powered sump pump could be a good investment if you lose power in a storm).
  • Check your septic tank. If it hasn’t been cleaned in a while, there might be trash or grease in your septic system that’s just waiting to cause problems the next time it rains. If it’s too old, replace it before it fails at the worst possible time.
  • Redirect or extend your downspouts. If your downspouts are directing water toward your home, they aren’t doing their job. Reposition them so the bottom faces away from your foundation; if necessary, attach an extender so that the water exits far away from your home.
  • Regrade your yard. If the water seeps back toward your foundation anyway, then your yard may be the problem. Use dirt to fill in indentations and low spots next to your home, and try to slope your yard downward away from your foundation.
  • Install a French drain. If your yard cannot be properly regraded, a French drain may work just as well. Dig a foot-deep trench leading away from your home, put in a PVC pipe, bury it, and attach one end of the pipe to a drain in the lowest part of your yard.
  • Invest in basement window covers. If the windows to your basement are below-grade, these transparent covers can be attached to your foundation and still permit light to enter your basement.
  • Fix your foundation. Cracks in the foundation can lead to infiltration flooding of your basement through its walls. So seal any small cracks with heavy-duty caulk; for large cracks, call a foundation repair company.
  • Clean and/or repair your gutters. Clogged or damaged gutters can cause rainwater or snowmelt to spill over your gutters and onto the ground near your basement. Make sure that your gutter system is in good working order.

Harry Helmet has been replacing old or broken gutter systems for over three decades, so contact them today for brand new seamless gutters that will help protect your basement from flooding. Do whatever you can to keep water out of your basement during the spring thaw – or you might spend most of your summer and fall making repairs and cleaning up your basement.

Written by Del Thebaud

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