After living through two basements floods and two partial basement floods, I have gained some experience and knowledge on this subject. We hope never to have to deal with this again.
Then, in the last two weeks here in the Peace Country there were torrential rains, road closures, bridge washouts and many basements floods. Gratefully, the measures we took prevented our home from flooding this go round. Whew!
When you think about the topic of basements floods, there are two areas for consideration:
- Preventing a Flood
- Dealing With A Flood
Preferably, you want to prevent one in the first place. For some reason, they always occur at the most inconvenient time. When we had our two major floods, I had a house full of company the first time, and the second time, I had a house full of company arriving. They also seem to happen in the middle of the night when you are so tired you just want to throw up, and there you are up all night wading through mucky water. So if this information will prevent a flood for you, trust me, it is worth your read.
1. Upgrading The Grade
Key to preventing a flood is moving the water away from your house. The grade of your property should always slope away from your home. If you have to change the grade, use a clay type fill, as this will not allow the water to seep through. It will run away following the grade. If you have basements windows, I have seen contractors build a casement around them, and then build up the lawn. It is not pretty, but does the trick. This can also be expensive. If you have an older home and are prepared to upgrade your area with this type of project, you should have your weeping tile checked at the same time. This will require digging down to the bottom of the basement on the exterior walls, and ensuring that provision is made to collect water and run it to the drain. Likely a $ 15,000 cost.
2. Move The Water Away From Your House
If you have a grading problem, but can not hire a contractor to build up the slope, then you need to be prepared to move the water away during a rainy period. Normally the weather is very dry here, but this year we had record rainfall. And since our home is lower then the neighbour's house, we had a situation that needed attention. So we had to divert the water away from the house with a sump pump. In order for it to drain, drilled holes into a bucket for the sump pump. We dug a hole in the ground for the bucket which would instantly fill up with water. This worked great.
3. Check Eaves-troughs and Downspouts
Make sure your eaves-troughs are clean from all leaves and debris, and in good repair. Once you have successfully collected the water that falls onto your roof, you have to have provision to get that water away from your house. Your eaves-troughs are of no benefit if you just let them pour out on the ground beside your home.
4. Have Your Waste Water And Sewer Lines Cleared
Have your lines routed once a year or every two years to clear out tree routes and any buildup. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
5. Sump Pump
Many homes may have a sump pump in their basement. Make sure your sump pump is working properly. In particular, check the float switch. If this gets jammed in the hoses or wires, it will not be triggered when the water rises.
6. Consider relocating Valuable Real Estate
Think about what you have stored in the basement. If you were to have a flood, would it be damaged, and is it replaceable? If you have boxes of photos sitting on the floor, then these would surely be damaged. Store them up onto shelves. Do you have expensive furniture that could be relocated to another area of your house, such as a piano?
Do you know what is worse then boxes and boxes of stuff cluttering up your basement? Boxes and boxes of soggy wet murky stuff! Do not wait until you have a basement full of water … begin purging now.
8. Have a Wet / Dry Vacuum
Sometimes the plumbing in a home might spring a leak. So you would be smart to be prepared for minor water damage, such as investing in a wet / dry shop vacuum.
9. Take Pictures
If you experience a flood, grab your camera and take pictures of everything. This is vital if it will be compensated by your insurance. When the workers come in, they start removing things, and your pictures provide proof of the contents you owned that need replacing.
10. Keep track of the hours you spend in cleanup
Again, if your flood damage will be covered by insurance, the time you spent in cleaning up may be compensated at the going rate.
Breathe. Sometimes these things happen and you will feel overwhelmed and maybe a target. But, as best you can, let it run off your back like a duck. Remember after all, these are just "things," you still have your life and hopefully your health. Although it is a major inconvenience and it always costs you more time and money, the end results can be better. I ended up making improvements to our basement I would not have done if not for the flood.