Protecting Your Home from Basement Flooding this Spring

Spring is just around the corner and while that means saying goodbye to snow, it also usually means saying hello to rain. After all, we’ve all heard the old adage about how April showers bring May flowers. But not only is there rain to deal with, all that melting snow has to go somewhere, so basement flooding is a very common problem for homeowners around this time of year.

Even just a small amount of water getting into your home can cause big — and expensive — problems. By taking steps to protect your basement and belongings from flooding, you can save yourself a lot of headaches in the long run.

To get started, take a look at your gutters and downspouts. If it’s been a while since you last had your gutters cleaned, have someone come take care of that for you as soon as possible. When gutters are full of things like leaves, sticks, and other debris, they’re not able to keep water away from your home as well as they’re supposed to, making it more likely that water will end up getting into your home. Downspouts should also extend at least three feet away from the foundation of your house.

If basement flooding is a recurring problem at your home, it could be worth consulting a landscape architect to see if the landscaping around your home can be regraded. In some cases, basement flooding is caused by the ground sloping down toward a home, naturally directing water toward it. This may not be the easiest solution, but if this is the situation at your home, it could be the most effective long-term solution.

Windows are a very common way water gets to get into a house, so don’t forget to check the windows in your basement for any gaps. A great way to protect your basement windows is to install window well covers. These are clear acrylic covers that go over below-grade basement windows and can be attached to your home’s foundation, keeping water out while still letting light in.

Don’t forget to inspect your home’s foundation, both inside and out. Cracks in the foundation and basement walls are a very easy way for water to get in, so it’s important to stay on top of patching any cracks as they appear. Minor cracks can usually easy to fill in yourself, but larger problems will need the help of a professional.

Even if you think you’ve done everything you can to waterproof your basement or that basement flooding just isn’t something you have to worry about, don’t think it can’t happen to you. It’s still a very good idea to take steps to protect the belongings in your basement from potential water damage. After all, according to the Insurance Information Institute, 20 percent of all insurance claims for flood damage are filed by people in low-to-moderate flood risk areas. One of the best ways to start is by storing as many things as possible off the ground, such as on a shelving unit. Wall-mounted shelving can also work, but The Shelving Store points out that you should be careful not to install them on a wall that’s prone to leaking. Plastic storage bins are ideal for basement storage since they won’t be damaged by water. If you have furniture in your basement, you may want to consider putting it on risers to elevate it off the ground.

Lastly, you may want to review the insurance policies you have on your home to find out whether or not you’re covered for flood damage. Many homeowners think flood damage is covered by their standard homeowners or renters insurance, but that’s not the case. And unfortunately, this is something a lot of people end up learning the hard way. If you want insurance that covers flood damage, you will need to have a flood insurance policy. There are a lot of misconceptions about flood insurance in general, such as that you can only get it if you live in an area with a high risk of flooding. But in reality, most homeowners can get flood insurance and it might be well worth investigating, particularly if you have a finished basement.