Southeast Michigan Housing Market Value Blog

Protecting your investment Part 2
February 15th, 2013 9:07 AM

How to Prevent Basement Flooding

By Ben Levy

Basement flooding can be a serious problem for homeowners. Severe weather, sewage backups, plumbing problems and mechanical failure can all lead to costly and time consuming projects. Preparing your basement in advance and taking necessary precautions will, in almost every case, be money and time well spent.

Severe weather, usually a lot of rain in a short period of time, is one of the most common causes of basement flooding. The super saturated ground around your basement can cause water to leak from the soil, through the walls, and into your basement. Make sure your gutters are clear, down spouts lead away from the house by at least 6 feet, and the grade around your house gently slopes away from your foundation. This will direct most the water away from your house and usually prevent basement flooding.

Sewage backup is, unfortunately, often times unavoidable. Anything that comes in contact with sewage may be contaminated and have to be thrown away. If sewage backup is a concern, keep valuable and important items well off the floor, and consider avoiding refinishing your basement. Plumbing problems are caused when an incoming or outgoing pipe in your home bursts. Pipes on upper floors can cause water damage throughout your home and potentially fill your basement with water. Make sure to have your pipes inspected by a licensed plumber every so often, are clean, and are in good working condition. Know where the main water shut off is to your home and make sure everyone else in your family knows where it is as well.

Finally, mechanical failure occurs when a sump pump or water heater goes out. Imagine forty gallons of hot water spilling from your water heater and filling your basement. Or, think about your sump pump going out during a storm and your sump crock overfilling with water. To prevent these issues, make sure to know the life of the device and replace it before it goes bad. If your water heater starts to drip or your sump pump seems to be making more noise than normal, consider those as warning signs to replace those items.

Finally, when finishing a basement, make sure all floor drain lines remain unblocked. Do not put padding underneath any carpet (it is almost impossible to dry out when wet) and use tile instead of wood when finishing hard surface floors. A suspended ceiling is preferable to a drywall ceiling as it leaves the pipes and shut off valves available for inspection. Finally, develop a good relationship with a plumber, and have his or her number on hand so you can quickly access it in the event of an emergency.

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Posted by Matthew Diskin on February 15th, 2013 9:07 AMPost a Comment

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