Winter thaw and spring rains have caused home-owners grief with water entering their homes. I have a few recommendations for protecting your home and valuables from water.
Prior to winter thaw and spring rains, every home-owner should quick inspect their sump pit and pump. (Not every home will have a sump pit and pump depending on their exterior grade.) To alleviate groundwater from coming up through the cuts and cracks in your concrete floor of your basement, underground drainage tile is installed to direct water to the sump pit. The tile draining into your pit needs to be clear of debris at the pit. The sump pump will activate when the water level lifts the float on the pump. Check the float to make sure the pit will drain the sump pump water to the exterior of the home and away from your house. A battery back sump pump and an alarm are an excellent idea in case you lose electricity or the breaker is tripped off.
Gutters and downspouts also have an important role in keeping water out of your basement. Leaves and other debris should be removed every year from the gutters. You may want to consider leaf guards if you live in a wooded area. Downspouts carry the roof water away from the house. Make sure they are installed to every water release to avoid standing water next to your house or in you yard.
The exterior grade of your house is the most important factor in keeping your lower level dry. Grade should slope away from your foundation. Most building codes require drainage tile around the foundation perimeter directing water to a drain. Homes built prior to these code requirements may not be exterior tiled and have a higher risk of water. Be careful your landscape doesn't trap water along your foundation also.
A quick inspection of your sump pit and pump, gutters and downspouts, and yard and foundation grade may save you an insurance claim and loss of personal property. Please verify you have a rider for water on your insurance policy.
Heather Morris CRS, ABR, GRI, CLHMS
Broker Associate/ Skogman Realty 2008