Preventing Water in the Basement

Real Estate Agent with Town & Country Realtors

Preventing Water in the Basement...a few easy steps.

Spring is almost here.  It's difficult to think that here in Sioux Falls, SD.  It is snowing as I type this but spring is on its way.  With spring comes melting.  With several feet of snowfall this winter, melting snow means water.  Lots of it.  Along with the spring melt will also be rain.  There could be lots of it.  Where will all this water go?  That will be determined later, but the basement is where we do not want it.

When water does enter your basement, it will need to get pumped out.  Relying on a floor drain is risky.  A sump pump is your most reliable method.  The best option is to take measures to avoid the problem all together.  The best sump pump is one that never needs to run...but can when necessary. 

To avoid basement moisture during the spring thaw, remove snow from around the foundation.  Scooping a few feet of snow away from the foundation provides a buffer for the melting snow.  Granted, water does not always move straight down in a soil profile.  This buffer will at least keep the immediate snow away from the foundation.

Do you have a driveway or sidewalk adjacent to your foundation?  Seal the cracks in the concrete as well as the gap between the foundation and the slab.  Water will take the path of least resistance.  That path seems to always be the one that leads directly into your basement.  Furthermore, having that crack sealed before next winter will prevent moisture under your concrete from freezing and heaving, thereby making your cracking problem worse.

Clean your gutters and downspouts.  Clogged gutters overflow and send water directly down to the foundation.  The function of a downspout is to direct water away from the foundation.

In the spring when weather permits, make sure the soil next to the foundation slopes away from the foundation.  This is one of the fundamental causes for damp basements and the most overlooked.

Even with the above mentioned prevention, you may live in an area where the water table is high and your sump pump will naturally run due to the installation of drain tile.  That's normal and fine.  Maintain your sump pump! 

  • Make sure it pumps and discharges away from the foundation at least 20 feet. 
  • If your pump is old, spend $100 and replace it.  Keep the old one on the shelf as a backup.
  • Clean dirt and debris out of the sump pit
  • Ensure check valve is functioning properly

In the unfortunate event water still finds its way into your home, do not ignore it.  First and foremost, correct the cause.  Secondly, call a professional to properly dry the basement.  A wet/dry vac and a few fans is not enough.  Improperly dealing with moisture will lead to mold.

I know all the right people to call if you have specific questions or concerns.  My network consists of referrals for:

  • Determining the root cause of a water problem
  • Drying out a wet basement PROPERLY
  • Testing for hidden water problems
  • Sump pump evaluations
  • Restoring any water damage PROPERLY
  • Mold remediation (fixing the problem)

Call me if you need help.  That's what I'm here for.

Posted by


Eric Lanspa

Town & Country Realtors Inc.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Because there's a difference between for sale and SOLD!

Town & Country Realtors

Comments (2)

Charlie Ragonesi - Big Canoe, GA
Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros

I have also used the water proofing paint on the interior and that has worked really really well

Mar 11, 2010 08:27 AM
Didi Doolittle
Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, Eagle Office - Vail, CO
Vail, CO Realtor 970.232.8225

I'm originally from Sioux Falls, and was home to visit this summer.  I coudn't believe how much rain you all were getting.  Nearly everyone had water in the basement.  I'll have to pass along these pointers.

Sep 30, 2010 11:38 AM