Fire may be a more common concern among homeowners, but in fact your home may be ten times more likely to be damaged by water than by fire. Water damage to one’s property can come from weather related conditions such as moisture or flooding from heavy rains, flash floods, and severe storms. Flooding is always a possibility due to causes such as heavy rains in a short period of time.
Flooding can cause a range of health impacts and risks, including: death / injury, contaminated drinking water, disease-carrying insects / rodents, moldy houses, and evacuation / displacement.
Extreme rain can cause excessive runoff which can overwhelm water and sewage and septic fields causing contamination.
Extreme rainfall can also stimulate the growth of molds and fungi, resulting in increasing rates of respiratory illnesses in people exposed to them.
Protect Against Flooding Conditions
One of the biggest challenges we face during storms and erratic weather patterns is keeping our basements dry. Often, we deal with the after affects of a wet, damp, and moist basement. If proactive measures are taken, home damage, loss, and health risks can be avoided. We have listed a few things you can do to protect your home and family.
- Know your properties flood zone risk
- Have your furnace, water heater and other permanent equipment elevated above the expected flood levels of your area.
- Inspect sump pumps and drains regularly to ensure proper operation.
- Invest in a dedicated battery backup system for your sump pump.
- Keep sandbags on hand to help divert unusually high water away from your foundation.
- In snowy climates, flag drains to avoid plowing snow on top of them.
- Plan and practice an evacuation route. Designate a place for family members to meet in the event they become separated. Discuss a meeting place with your children if an emergency situation occurs.
- Review with all family members how to shut off utilities in an emergency.
- Plan a survival kit with important documents, including insurance documents, medications and critical items in the event you need to leave your home.
- Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for the latest storm information. If advised to evacuate, shut off all utilities and evacuate immediately.
- Move to high ground to avoid rising waters and do not walk or drive through any floodwaters.
- Stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires.
- Throw away all food that has come in contact with floodwaters.
- Remove standing water as quickly as possible, including from your basement. If your basement is flooded, pump out about 1/3 of the water per day to avoid structural damage.
- Properly dry or remove soaked carpets, padding and upholstery within 24-48 hours after a flood to prevent mold growth.Discard anything that cannot be properly dried.
- Wash and disinfect all areas that have been flooded. This includes walls, floors, closets and shelves, as well as heating and air-conditioning systems. Do not energize electrical or electronic equipment that may have water damage without first having a qualified electrician inspect and/or test it.
Tips For Preventing A Flooded Basement
Keep Gutters & Down Spouts Clean – Keep gutters clean and extend downspouts away from the house and foundation. This will help limit roof water from collecting and pooling around the foundation.
Landscape – The grade around your foundation should slope away from the house to keep rainfall from collecting and pooling against foundation walls.
Sump Pump Maintenance – Make sure your sump pump is working properly. Make sure the sump pump is plugged into a working electrical outlet. Sump Pump Systems should be serviced (preventative maintenance) at least once a year.
Install A Sump Pump – A sump pump with an automatic level switch should be installed into a basement sump pit (sump liner). When water enters the sump pit, the sump pump will pump water out of the basement (below grade) and away from the house.
Install A Backup Sump Pump – A battery backup sump pump will automatically pump water out and away from the house when there is power loss or if the primary sump pump fails. A battery backup sump pump will also pump water out if the primary pump becomes overwhelmed.
Repair Foundation Cracks – Inspect your basement and repair any cracks. Make Sure There are No Cracks in the foundation wall.
Repair Window Leaks & Protect Window Wells – Inspect basement windows for leaks. If they are leaking, repair them or have them replaced. If your basement windows are below grade, clean any debris around the windows and consider installing Window Well Covers.
Snow Removal – Shovel snow away from the perimeter of the home, especially basement windows. Keeping excessive snow away from your home’s foundation will reduce the amount of water caused by snow melt.
Check & Prevent Frozen Pipes – Inspect plumbing that is exposed in the basement. Insulate all water pipes from cold moving to prevent from pipe burst from freezing.
Often, we look to quick fixes for wet basement problems. Mmost flooded basements are caused from a lack of maintenance. Sump Systems need to be maintained. A preventative maintenance program can prevent a flooded basement.
Note: If you do experience a flooded basement, avoid electrical shock by not stepping into basement with water. Contact your local Fire Department or Utility Provider for safety.