Between freak snowstorms and seasonal showers, flowers might not be the only thing April brings. The risk of water damage can be high during spring, and your basement can be at risk. To help keep your basement dry, follow these tips for both inside and out.
1. If you don’t have a sump pump or backflow valve, think about installing one or both, especially if you live in an area that’s susceptible to flooding. It’s a good idea to consider installing a pump that comes with a backup battery. If you already have one, test regularly to ensure it works.
2. A leaky water heater could release a lot of water in a short period of time. Check it for rust and leaks, and partially drain it every six months to remove sediments which can cause erosion. Is your heater older than 10 years? It might be time for a replacement.
3. If a basement renovation or development is in your future, use a certified professional to install the plumbing system. Consider using water-resistant flooring, ceramic tile, or wall finishes. Legs keep furniture up and away from accumulated water, and area rugs are easier to remove and clean than wall-to-wall carpet.
4. Turn off the main water valve when you’re going to be away for more than a couple days. Even if you’re just leaving the house for an afternoon, never run the dishwasher or washing machine while you’re gone. It’s best to operate these while at home in case a hose becomes loose or suddenly ruptures.
5. Routinely inspect the hoses on your fridge, washing machine and dishwasher and replace any that are cracked or brittle.
6. Clear eavestroughs and downspouts regularly, and check that all downspouts extend at least six feet from basement walls. Or catch runoff in a rain barrel and reuse the water for gardening.
7. Make sure your lot is properly graded and water drains away from basement walls. Check your sidewalk, driveway and deck haven’t settled, causingwater to drain toward your home.
8. Keep window wells free of debris and pooling water, and make sure all seals are intact. Install covers to protect window wells on an ongoing basis.
9. Look for cracks in foundation walls and immediately seal any you find.
10. In the event of one of our notorious spring snowstorms, shovel away from your home. This is especially important in spots that slope toward the house, such as the driveway.
Despite your best preventative efforts, you may still experience flooding. Confirm your home insurance policy provides proper coverage against water damage. Many policies specifically exclude damage from ground water, water from the rising of the water tables, repeated seepage and leakage and the cost to repair faulty workmanship. Sewer back-up is not included as part of your home insurance policy and needs to be added as extra coverage to your policy. Even then, it doesn’t include the cost of unblocking or repairing damaged sewer or water lines. Speak to a local BrokerLink broker to ensure you have the coverage you need.