Spring is in the air for most of the country, although it certainly does not feel like spring at the moment as I watch the flurries falling outside from my office window… ok it is a cubical. Soon enough the temperatures will warm up and we will say ado to old man winter. However, as the adage goes, April shows bring May flowers, it can also bring water into your basement.
Statistically, basement leakage is one of the most common problems found in houses. In fact, approximately 90% of all basements will leak or at one time or another (National Restoration Network, 2012). Primarily this is caused by water that collects at the surface level against the foundation of the building. Typically this is from rainwater that has drained off the roof to close to the foundation. The surface water can easily flow back around the basement walls saturating the ground. Once the ground is saturated, the water can seep into the basement through cracks or open joints within the foundation.
How can you prevent this from happening? Normally, the best solution is to intercept the water before it becomes a problem and redirect the flow away from the house. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. Under most circumstances, directing any water away from the building is a good start to minimizing the amount of water that can come into contact with the basement walls. Through the use of gutters, downspouts, or French drains, the water can be carried away from the foundation. Depending on the grade of the surrounding area about 6-feet should be a good distance.
While gutters and downspouts will remove the majority of the rainfall away from the house, you will still need to use a sump-pump to remove additional water around the foundation and move it to a safe distance of 6-feet or more. A sump pump is used to remove water that has accumulated in water collecting sump basin via perimeter drains of a waterproofing system.
Here are some tips to help prevent your basement flooding:
1. Make sure that your gutters are free of debris and that the downspouts or French drains are positioned to displace any water at lease 3 – 6 feet away from the house.
2. Annually inspect your sump pump to ensure it is functionally properly. This includes making sure that no debris has been introduced into the sump basin and that the float is not sticking or jammed.
3. Locate and repair any foundation cracks with epoxy.
4. Have your home sewer line inspected and cleaned by a licensed plumber.
5. Have an emergency generator that is tested annually to ensure that should the power go out your sump pump will continue operating.
6. Make sure that if you are in a flood zone, that you have the proper type and amount of insurance.