Basement water damage can be a very damaging and costly problem. The damage can be much more sweeping than just your contents and property in the basement – particularly if not handled quickly. Fortunately there are precautions you can take to either reduce or eliminate this situation from occurring.
In cities such as Chicago, St Louis, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Denver as well as many other old cities, basements will be found in just about every house and commercial or industrial building and all are susceptible to water damage if not maintained properly. Below are some pointers to help you avoid this situation from occurring in most non-cataclysmic scenarios.
- Be sure your sump pumps are working and inspected regularly. Sump pumps are often neglected due to their hidden locations. Have a plumber test your sump pump periodically and ensure your sump pump pit is free of mud and debris. Mud can clog up any pressure switches on the pump and debris can hang up the floats. Also make sure that the correct sized piping is run out of the sump pump and out of your home or office – not garden hoses, etc. that cannot keep up with what a sump pump is designed to do. When rain storms come, you’ll want them to be in great working order and taking the full load it’s designed for.
- Window wells- If you have window wells, make sure they drain quickly if they have drains. If they are just rock filled window wells, check them periodically to ensure they do not fill with water. Water of only a few feet filling a window well will break the glass and enter your basement. Window well covers are a great and cheap precaution to making sure rain water is diverted away from the well itself.
- Gutters – Make sure your gutter extensions run at least a few feet away from your your home or buildings foundation to not sink back straight into the ground, making it’s way back to your sump pump pit eventually. Also make sure your gutters are clean so the water flows where it is supposed to.
- Floor drains. If you own older buildings or homes, you will have floor drains in your basement that attach directly to your sewer line. This is the most common access point for sewage water to come in. First, make sure a sewer and drain technician maintains your sewer line at least on an annual basis to make sure waste water flows free and clear to the city main sewer. For unfinished basement, you can install standpipes that will hinder water from rising out of the floor drain unless the water is rising very high, at which point everyone should leave the basement immediately.
- When installing appliances such as dishwasher and washing machines, leave it to someone who doesn’t not cut corners and does it right,. As small as a dishwasher and washing machine may seem, an alarming amount of water can gush from these two sources damaging wood floors, articles and furniture.
- Water Heaters should also be inspected regularly to ensure its integrity. the common water heater will hold 40 gallons of water – this can do a lot of damage if it lets loose.
- Pipes. In winter weather, one of the most common forms of water damage is freezing pipes. A pipe will burst due to the cold and the water will flow, and continually flow destroying the wall and anything around it. The first thing to do if this does happen is to turn of your water, every home has a main water shut-off valve. Turn it off immediately. to prevent such occurrences, keep your heat on. Even if you are on vacation, leave your home heated as this is one of the most common times pipes burst…when you are away.