Protecting Your Home Against Water Damage from Flooding
Whether you live in a flood-prone area or not, it’s important to protect your home against damage from flooding and leaking.
According to Water Damage Defense, 14,000 people in the U.S. experience a water damage emergency at home or work each day, and 98% of basements in the U.S. will experience some type of water damage during their lifespan.
Below, we look at 6 ways to keep your home dry:
#1: Slope Soil Away from Your Home’s Foundation
As sturdy as it may look, your home’s foundation isn’t waterproof. If water is there long enough, it’s going to get in.
A good way to prevent water from pooling around your home is by sloping soil away from your foundation walls. That way, if runoff from your roof or gutter pours within a couple of feet of your home, it has a clear path away from your foundation.
Of course, the next question is: how much of a slope is necessary?
While the answer depends on a number of factors, the consensus seems to be that 6 inches for the first 10 feet is usually enough (that translates to a slope of 5 percent). Ideally, the ground should drop by 0.6 or more inches for every foot that you move away from the foundation according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
You can check if your home has a slope by pounding two stakes into the ground (one next to your foundation, the other 10 feet away), attaching a string to them, and then using a string level to measure the grade.
If it’s under 6 inches, you may need to add soil near the foundation and tamping it down to increase the slope.
#2: Fill Cracks in Your Home’s Foundation
Even if you follow the steps above to prevent water from pooling around your home, it can still happen. And if it does, it’s more likely to seep into the basement if your foundation has any large cracks or holes.
If you own an older home, you may be thinking, “Well, I’m pretty sure my foundation has plenty of cracks. Should I be filling all of them?”
For the most part, the answer is no. Not all foundation cracks are serious. Many occur naturally when concrete cures or dries and settles over time.
Look out for cracks that are wider than 1/4 inch (or big enough to fit a dime) – these should be sealed or inspected immediately.
Cracks that run horizontally are also generally “worse” than vertical or diagonal cracks and can be a sign of serious damage to your home’s foundation and structural integrity.
If you’re sealing cracks and holes yourself, look for “dry flood-proofing” coatings and sealants that are specifically designed for foundations.
#3: Clean Gutters and Downspouts
The looser soil around your home’s foundation tends to absorb more water. If it gets flooded with rainwater from clogged gutters or downspouts, the soil can expand and cause a number of potential problems, like foundation damage, structural issues, and even basement flooding.
This happens more often than you’d think. Gutters often get clogged with leaves, twigs, and other debris – especially during the fall and spring – which can lead to blockages.
When this happens, water can’t properly divert away from your home and may spill over the side of your gutters instead.
The simple solution? Clean your gutters and downspouts on a semi-regular basis! You should also keep an eye out for any holes or cracks in your gutters and downspouts. Even a trickling leak can let plenty of water into your basement, so make sure to fill them with waterproof caulking.
If your gutters are clean and they still overflow during heavy rain, you may need to install a bigger gutter on your home to accommodate the amount of water.
#4: Buy a Battery-Powered Sump Pump
If you’ve done all of the above but you’re still dealing with flooding, you should consider investing in a battery-powered sump pump. It’s a kind of last defense against water damage from flooding.
How it works is a sump pump gets installed in a “sump pit” at the lowest point of your home – usually a corner in the basement. If water seeps in and begins to flood, the device will pump water away from your home via a discharge line.
While sump pumps aren’t inexpensive, they cost a lot less than a flood cleanup! When shopping around, make sure to find one that has the right capacity and power for your home.
You may also want to consider buying one that runs on battery power. That way, if there’s a power outage, you don’t have to worry about your sump pump not working.
#5: Install Water Leak Sensors in Your Basement
One of the biggest problems with water damage from flooding is that it often isn’t caught until it’s too late. Water can slowly seep in through your foundation leading to mold, mildew, and damage, and you may be none the wiser!
Luckily, this is an area where Notion can help! By installing Notion Sensors in your home’s basement, you’ll be notified the moment a spill or leak is detected.
This can help you save a lot of time, money, and prevent long-term damage to your property.
#6: Prepare for the Worst
No matter how prepared you and your home are, flash flooding and intense rainstorms are always a risk. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to help minimize the damage:
- Use sandbags to create a temporary flood barrier around the lowest areas of your home
- If flood water rises enough where it is close to reaching your electric panel, shut it off to prevent electrical damage
- Make sure your sump pump is turned on and running
- Relocate your expensive or sentimental items to higher ground
And that's it! Basement flooding is one of the biggest challenges a homeowner can face. But it's often preventable! Use our tips above to protect your home against water damage from flooding.
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