February 16, 2021

Blooming flowers, budding trees, and the chirping of birds are a few of the welcomed signs of spring. Along with the warmer weather and the inevitable spring thaw, however, comes the potential for flooding and damage to your home.

Fortunately, there are several steps homeowners can take to reduce and mitigate the risk of flooding. Follow these simple tips to welcome the arrival of spring — not dread it.

1. Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts

Once the snow starts to melt in early spring, it’s time to inspect and clean your gutters and downspouts. By keeping your gutters free of debris and properly positioning your downspouts away from your home’s foundation, snowmelt and rainwater will drain freely, rather than pooling up against your home.

Expert Tip: It’s important to ensure that your downspouts direct water at least three feet away from your foundation by using extensions or troughs if necessary.

2. Maintain Your Sump Pump

Sump pump failure is one of the most common causes of basement flooding. Be sure to inspect your sump pump on a regular basis — especially ahead of and during the spring thaw — to make sure that it is working properly and the well is free of debris. Consider investing in a generator for your sump pump or a battery-operated replacement, just in case you lose power when you need it most. Keep in mind, if your basement floods due to a broken or neglected sump pump, your property insurance may not cover the damage.

3. Install Window Well Covers

If your home has below-grade basement windows, be sure to protect them with window well covers. When fastened securely over your basement windows and latched on to your home’s foundation, window well covers are an effective and inexpensive step towards waterproofing your basement — in addition to keeping debris, leaves, and rodents out.

4. Grade Your Lawn Away From Your Home

Where your lawn is sloped, water will go. Ideally, this should be away from your home and toward the sidewalk, street, or flower bed. Walk around your home and take note of any area where your lawn may dip or slope inwards toward your foundation. The good news is that there are many landscaping solutions including, regrading, French draining, or mulching that can remedy the situation.

5. Inspect Your Sewer and Septic Systems

As a homeowner, inspecting your sewer and cleaning your septic tank may not rank as your preferred task, but neglecting this important step for too long can cause serious concerns — especially during periods of long, heavy rainfall. Debris buildup, clogging, and overflowing are bound to eventually happen with a lack of proper maintenance, and can cause many headaches.

6. Talk To Your Insurance Broker

In addition to the precautions listed above, it is critical to prepare for the worst-case scenario and make sure that you are properly protected with the right insurance coverage for your home. Review your property insurance with your broker and discuss what types of water damage are covered under your policy. Ask about what additional coverage options may be available, and consider adding flood insurance, especially if you have a finished basement.

Follow these six steps and you’ll be well on your way to protecting your basement from flooding. Want to make sure that your home is adequately protected? Contact the team at The Ostic Group today!

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