Keep Your Basement Dry with These Tips
Water damage is a common hazard to residences, and can come from several overlooked sources.
HYDROSTATIC WATER PRESSURE
Hydrostatic water pressure can be problematic for many homeowners, causing foundation damage or basement flooding. It can occur undetected beneath the surface. In fact, the problem may not be discovered until major damage has already occurred.
The video below breaks down the science of hydrostatic water pressure and the steps you can take to ensure your home stays protected (and dry).
PIPE BREAKS AND PLUMBING MALFUNCTIONS
Homeowners incur thousands of dollars in expenses each year due to damage caused by water escaping from broken pipes or malfunctioning appliances and plumbing fixtures.
You can minimize this risk through the installation of an automatic water shut-off system. These systems use sensors located near water heaters, washing machines, refrigerators, toilets or other appliances to detect a drop in pressure when water leaks. The system shuts off water to the appliance, preventing costly flooding. Costs for these systems can vary, but are generally around $100-$200 for a device to monitor an individual appliance or a few hundred dollars more for a whole-house system. More information is available from the NAHB Research Center http://www.homeinnovation.com/.
Residences can also be vulnerable to water intrusion from sump pump failure caused by a power outage or malfunction. Backup sump pumps are now available that do not rely on battery power; rather, they use the home’s water pressure to function. These systems are usually available for under $500. Investing in these systems can protect your home from extensive water damage, providing you with peace of mind year-round.
STOP WATER AT THE SOURCE
Additional basic techniques can be used to protect your home from water damage and flooding throughout the year.
- Inspect your roof: Roof leaks may result in damaged decking, framing or attic insulation, which leads to rot and mold. So, keep your roof in good condition or have it fixed as soon as possible in order to prevent more costly damage down the road.
- Clean your gutters and downspouts: Water damage can also occur when clogged gutters cause water from the roof to back up into the house and through the ceiling. To ensure that they drain properly and do not overflow, check that your gutters and downspouts are clear of leaves and other debris. It also helps to make sure that the water is directed away from your house foundation using splash blocks or by extending downspouts more than six feet away from your home.
- Trim your trees: The simple act of trimming tree branches that are growing — or dead — near your home is invaluable to your safety and saving on repair costs. Fallen branches can damage your home, allowing water intrusion.
- Install a sewer backflow valve: A backflow valve in the drain line helps prevent damage from sewage backing up into your home through the drainpipe. This is a critical issue since the interior damage to your home caused by sewer backup is also a health hazard. The valve has a flapper that closes automatically when needed to help in flood-prone areas.
- Document your possessions: Compiling a detailed documentation of valuable possessions can be invaluable when processing an insurance claim in the aftermath of flood or storm damage. It’s also a good idea to store this inventory in a waterproof container and as a digital copy to help you quickly access the information after an event. Photographs of your belongings may also be beneficial.