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Preventing Water Damage in Your Home

Ten tips to prevent water damage in your home!
Our homes are often described as our castles. It’s a constant task to keep our homes safe and secure. We need to address the threats to our homes on many different fronts. While we often talk about man-made threats, in the way of a break and enter, or vandalism. Another significant risk can come from extreme weather or burst pipes resulting in flooded basements and water damage. Climate change has made us more susceptible to severe weather, which can mean sudden downpours with a month’s worth of rain in a few hours. Is your property ready to handle this kind of storm with high volumes of water in a short time span? So how do you protect yourself? Here are a few tips.
1. Property grading. Your landscaping should provide a natural path for run off to move away you’re your home. Your yard should be sloped away from the building. Make sure landscaping and floor beds are not preventing water from moving away from your basement walls and foundation.
2. Are your downspouts and eave troughs in good condition? Are the free of debris that can cause clogged downspouts, resulting in overflowing? Make sure your downspouts are NOT connected to your homes weeping tiles or city drains. You should install drainage pipes to your downspouts that take the water at least 6-8ft away from your foundation.
3. Rethinking hard surfaces around your home is essential. The rainwater needs places to be absorbed into the ground. Rather than using concrete or asphalt driveways and walkways, think about interlocking brick or stone, or loose gravel or pebble paths.
4. If your street has a storm sewer drain near your home, make sure its free and clear. If it’s clogged, call the City. If water on the street cannot go into the sewer, it will look for alternatives…your basement.
5. If you have window wells for your basement windows, consider getting clear covers for them. Window wells can fill very quickly in a downpour and overwhelm any drainage that may be in place.
Now on the inside of your home, there are also things you can do for prevention and early detection!
6. If you have a sump pump, make sure it’s in good working order, that the pit is free of debris, and consider a battery backup system. Storms often go hand in hand with power failures. The pump won’t help you if it has no power!
7. Consider adding water sensors to your alarm system. These can be installed in your sump pit, near your washing machine and hot water tank. Getting early notification of a leak can save you from much damage.
8. Keep your floor drains clean and clear. Also, ask your plumber about installing a backwater valve installed in your drain. A backwater valve is a device that stops water and sewage from coming back into the house during times of heavy rainfall. Annual maintenance of backwater values is essential.
9. Don’t pour fats, oils and grease down your drains; they may solidify and contribute to a clogged pipe—the last thing you need when your system is in distress from a storm!
10. Shelving is your friend in a basement, try to keep as much stuff as possible off the basement floor. If you have valuables, keepsakes or heirlooms consider that the basement might not be the best place for them.

As with many things…an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure. Take some time to check out your home to see if you are ready for the next storm. Because it’s coming!