How to Prevent Basement Floods

Basement flooding can happen to anyone. Flooding is typically a result of water seeping through your foundation during heavy rainstorms or snowstorms, but other common causes include plumbing leaks, poor yard drainage, and sewer backups. 

Whatever the reason, a basement flood is an awful experience. It can damage any personal belongings you have in the basement and cause serious health concerns. For example, moisture-damage in your basement often leads to mold, which can cause respiratory problems and can be challenging to remove.  

While sometimes flooding is impossible to avoid, there are proactive steps that you can take to help lessen the chances of your basement flooding. 

Maintain your gutters, downspouts, and outdoor drains 

Gutters, downspouts, and drains can easily get clogged with leaves, dirt, and other debris. When these features get clogged, water pools up against your house and then can leak into your basement. Make sure to unclog gutters and downspouts at least once a season. If you can, invest in downspout extensions to direct water further away from your house. 

Add window well covers

Rainwater can often seep in through any basement-level windows. Window well covers can be latched onto your foundation to prevent water from pooling against your windows and seeping in. If you’re worried about the covers preventing light from entering your basement, invest in clear acrylic covers. 

Maintain your sump pump

Sump pumps help to send water away from your home, but simply owning a sump pump isn’t enough. You want to regularly check to make sure your sump pump is working. You don’t want to wait until your basement is flooding to realize that your sump pump has broken down. Most sump pumps are installed in your basement, but if you’re having trouble with drainage around your entire property, you’ll also want to invest in an outdoor sump pump. An outdoor sump pump is an affordable alternative to leveling off portions of your yard. 

Check your foundation

Minor cracks are to be expected in concrete foundations, but these cracks often lead to water damage in your basement. Regularly check your foundation, basement walls, and basement floor for any signs of cracks. Cracks should be filled with epoxy sealant or polyurethane foam. If you still experiencing leaking after filling the cracks or the cracks return, you might have a serious problem with your foundation and need to talk to a professional contractor. 

Check for blocked sewer lines

Sewage backups can lead to water draining into your bathroom. You can typically tell when you have a blocked sewage line because you’ll notice unpleasant smells coming from drains, slow draining water in sinks and tubs, and gurgling pipes. If you start noticing signs that something is blocked, call a plumber immediately before the problem gets worse. You should have your sewer lines inspected and cleaned every 18-22 months to help prevent blocked lines. Many assume that the local water company is responsible for checking sewer lines, but it is often the homeowner’s responsibility to schedule an inspection. 

Clean your septic 

Clogged sewage lines are unpleasant, but a septic backup is even worse. If you have problems with your septic, wastewater will begin seeping up from the ground near your septic system and can potentially flood your basement. You’ll also notice black water appearing in your drains, bathtubs, and toilets. A septic backup creates a nasty mess, not just in your basement but through the rest of your house. Have your septic inspected at least once every three years by a professional. The professional will then tell you if it is time to have your septic tank pumped out. 

Waterproof your basement 

If you regularly have water seeping in through your walls, you should also use a high-quality waterproof paint on your interior basement walls. It may take several coats to apply, but this sealant will form a watertight bond on your walls that will help prevent moisture from seeping in.  

Final thoughts

If you’re a homeowner, you want to do all that you can now to prevent your basement from flooding. If you do find out that your basement has flooded, remember that a flooded basement can be a safety risk. You’ll want to find a way to pump out the standing water, but you shouldn’t go into the water or touch any electrical features that are in contact with the water. Afterward, you’ll want to determine the cause of the flood and figure out a way to prevent future floods. Talk to a consultant if you repeatedly experience flooding.  

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