Monday, 8 August 2011

How to Prevent Flooding in Your Basement

Basement flooding can be disastrous.
Photo: Marvin Nauman/FEMA
Flooding, be it natural in origin or the result of sewage and drain backups, can be one of the most difficult problems to deal with as a homeowner. Not only can it cost you thousands of dollars in repairs, but it's an awful situation to be in: you may have to leave your home while it's being fixed, and valuable items in your basement could be destroyed. Since a lot of people store files and old home videos in the basement, it's important to take measures to protect yourself from such an event. 

Keep the gutters clean
  • Be sure to clean your gutters at least twice a year. Grab the ladder and do the whole house in an afternoon. Leaves and other debris can cause the water to overflow the gutter and drain down into the basement, causing flooding. 
  • Make sure your downspouts direct the water at least 3 metres from your home. This will ensure that water doesn't drain into the basement. 

Invest in a backflow valve and sump pump
  • Backflow valves (also known as check valves) allow sewage to exit the home through the sewage pipes, but stops sewage from going the other way. When sewage is forced back into your house, which would normally cause a sewage backup, a flap closes and prevents it from doing so. 
  • To prevent rain water from flooding your basement, a sump pump is a highly effective solution. Excess rain water is pumped safely away from the house, stopping you from being inundated. 
  • Be sure to check with your municipality first, since these kinds of installations often require a permit. 

Take preventative measures
  • If you live in a flood-prone area, keep your valuables off the floor. Instead of storing your old photo albums in a box on the ground, install a shelf so that in the event that you're overwhelmed with flood water, your most priceless memories will be safe. 
  • Finally, you can elevate your furniture with shims and casters, to give yourself a little bit of time before your couches and chairs are destroyed.  

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