On average, the cost associated with basement flooding, repair, and cleanup is roughly $3,000-$7,000—sometimes even more. Every home is at risk, even if there’s no warning signs or past history of flooding. This risk is especially elevated in the spring when there’s snow melt and seasonal rains. Luckily, there are several things you can do to help prevent your basement from flooding.
Gutters & Downspouts
You can start the preventive measures outside of your home. Every spring and after storms, make sure your rain gutters are n’t obstructed by debris, such as dirt, leaves, sticks, or anything that would stop the flow of the water. It’s also important to check that they’re in good condition and free from cracks or leaks. If there is any blockage or leaks, the water will run down the walls and stay next to the house, which can increase chances of flooding.
Once you’ve checked the gutters, check the downspout, which carries the rainwater from the roof to a drain or the ground. Make sure these are also in good condition and free of debris. The downspouts should be angled and extended as far from the home’s foundation as possible. If you have room, extend the downspout about ten feet from the home and angled so the water will drain down slope.
Another step you can take to protect your property is to clear debris from any storm drains on the street located near your home. These are designed to carry rainfall and other drainage to local rivers, streams, and drains.
After you’ve addressed the gutters and downspouts, examine the exterior foundation of your home for cracks. Some exterior cracks are caused by settling and won’t require extensive repair, but be sure to make note of any cracks you would like to get examined by a professional.
Next, go inside of your basement and continue to check for cracks. Be sure to look for any extra spaces between the floor and wall and where walls intersect, as those places have a higher chance of being eroded.
Once you’ve recorded any cracks on your home (inside and out) call a professional foundation contractor or structural engineer who will be able to tell you which cracks need to be filled using epoxy or high pressure polyurethane foam injection.
Another potential flooding disaster may already be right inside the basement: your water heater. The life expectancy of a water heater is about eight to twelve years, and the failure can start via a slow leak or a sudden burst. Make sure you keep up with your water heater maintenance by contacting your local plumbing professional. Another way to avoid a disaster is by installing a device that will automatically shut off the water or notify you by email or text if there is a leak or flood detected.
Standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, so if you live in a high-risk zone or just want peace of mind, you may want to explore extra coverage options. It’s important to start by reviewing your current policy to see what you’re covered for. If you’re interested in upgrading your coverage, many companies offer a separate flood insurance to help fill gaps in your standard coverage. This additional coverage may include: rebuilding costs, personal belongings, debris removal, and more. Coverage can differ depending on which company you choose, so be sure to talk to your insurance agent for more details.
Prevention is Your Best Option
Floods are a common challenge for homeowners, but by following these preventive measures you can reduce your risk of potential flood damage. Be sure to consult a professional before making any decisions that could affect your foundation or home’s worth or if you have any further questions on basement flooding. Make sure you revisit these preventative measures annually (or more frequently) to ensure you’re decreasing your chances of having a flooded basement.