Keeping your basement dry

Thursday, May 5, 2011

When heavy rains enter the forecast, basement flooding may weigh on the minds of homeowners. Rain water isn't the only source of water damage in the home, however.

Water lines to washers or other appliances can break, leaking water through flooring, drywall, and more. Because water damage isn't always covered in a homeowners insurance policy, it's important to take preventive measures.

Surface water damage occurs when rain water pools around the home and seeps through the foundation. Homeowners can stop surface water from causing foundation damage by using gutters and downspouts with extensions, installing a French drain, or grading the soil around the home.

To be effective, gutters and downspouts need to be kept free of debris.

Homeowners need to keep a close eye on flower gardens and shrubs that surround their foundations. While the plants may draw some water out of the soil, thus alleviating water pressure, they can also hide water problems.

If a foundation starts to show signs of damage, the first step is to stop the water. Next, homeowners need to contract with a professional to fix the foundation.

There's always a chance that appliances, such as water heaters, clothes washers, dish washers, and refrigerators, can cause water damage as well. For instance, water heaters are estimated to last 10 to 12 years. Signs of rust or corrosion may develop near the base of the tank as the heater approaches the end of its life.

It's good practice to make frequent inspections of aging appliances to check for rust or corrosion. Also check that the water lines coming in and out of appliances are tight and in good condition. It's also a good idea to only operate appliances like clothes and dish washers when someone is at home.

Water in the basement can only lead to trouble and expense!