Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How to Protect a Basement From Flooding

1. Focus on prevention. Long before you're in a flooding situation, look around your property for ways to divert rain water away from your home. Important considerations are extending rain gutter down spouts away from your home and making sure the grade of your yard surfaces slope away from your home. 


2. Clean the rain gutters in the spring and after all the leaves have come down in the fall. Blocked gutters will cause all of the roof water to dump directly against your foundation, increasing the likelihood of basement flooding. 


3. Extend the rain gutter downspouts well out and away from your home. Do not connect the downspouts to your foundation footer drain tiles or to underground dry wells. This will only cause the roof water to further saturate the ground and cause flooding in your basement. 

4. Walk around outside in your yard during a heavy rain storm. Watch to see if water is ponding next to your home and if surface water is being directed toward your home. If this is the case, seek a local landscaper or excavation contractor for advice on ways to regrade your yard so the surface water is directed away from your home.

5. Provide emergency power. Install an automatic emergency generator to provide electric service for essential circuits like your furnace or electric heat, well pump, refrigerator, septic tank pump and sump pump in the case when power is lost. Without emergency backup power, you may return home to unnecessary basement flooding, frozen water pipes and a flooded septic tank. 


6. Install a sump pump. An automatic sump pump should help keep water leakage normal amounts of rainfall from building up in the basement. As long as the sump pump tank has an opening in the lid, the sump pump will act like a huge floor drain and keep the water from getting deep. 

7. Install a backup sump pump. The sump pump is your first line of defense against basement flooding. However, the most reliable sump pump available in the industry is still a mechanic device and can fail. A backup sump pump system, preferably with at least a battery-operated pump, configured with a switch device to begin working if the main is out of commission, greatly reduces the chance of flood. Some systems come with additional security features such as an alarm that goes off whenever the battery operated is started. 


8. Make an emergency family plan. Plan ahead with your family so that everyone has each other cell phone and other contact numbers. If you live in an area that is prone to historic flooding, plan ahead of time where you'll be able to stay until flood waters subside. Keep in mind that all your neighbors will probably need housing too. As local hotels are usually inundated during flooding events, try to arrange ahead of time with some local family members away from the flooding area to have temporary housing if ever needed.


9. Have flood insurance. Add flood insurance onto your existing homeowner's policy. Flood insurance is provided by the government and is fairly inexpensive. In the USA, if your home insurance agent does not provide flood insurance, contact FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) for local agencies that do.

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