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Protect Your Home From Spring Flooding

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Ah, Spring! Thank goodness everything is thawing out—it's time to dive into the depths of your dresser and pull out pink pants and socks that don’t go up to your knees. It’s time to pack away sweaters in boxes full of cedar chips. It’s time to eat ice cream outside and watch everything turn green from all that water, the rain and the melt and the—

OH NO! See, this is where thankful for the defrosting can quickly become panicked and resentful of flooding. “April showers bring May flowers,” but they also bring unintentional basement swimming pools when coupled with nature liquefying her assets previously all tied up in ice and snow. Here are some tips and tricks for preparing for, preventing and dealing with Spring flooding in and around your home.

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Deal With Your Gutters:

Winter can be rough on gutters—ice could have damaged them, debris is bound to have built up. Repair any roughed-up spots and clean the debris out before the storms begin. The goal is to have water drain at least three feet from your house so it’s not all spilling directly into your basement, so consider running extensions if your gutters don’t do that. While you’re in a clearing mode, moving any unmelted snow out of close proximity to your house is always a good prevention method, though in areas with a lot of snow, it’s not always feasible.

Inspect Your Foundation:

Both inside and outside your house, check for cracks in your foundation. Many times, little problems can be solved with epoxy, paint and sealant. But foundation cracks can be indications of more serious problems—or more serious problems in and of themselves, and not just for your basement’s relationship to water. If you find large cracks or many cracks in your house’s foundation, call in the pros.

And while you’re inspecting, make sure any below-grade windows are properly covered and sealed. Basement windows are a common leak source. By checking these, and sealing them properly, half your work is done!

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Solve Any Sump Pump Problems:

If you live in a wet area, consider installing a sump pump to forcibly remove the water from your basement. If you already have one, make sure it’s working properly before you need it—it’s just the worst when you discover as you’re bailing your house out with a bucket that the sump pump has gone to the great scrap yard in the sky. To prevent flooding should one of these April squalls knock out power, make sure your generator is ready to go.

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Straighten Out Your Septic Tank:

Ah, the very worst of floods—the kinds of floods that also contain unspeakable waste. Take this moment, this moment right now before it ever becomes a problem, to get your septic tank cleaned. Do we need to talk about it any further than that? I submit that we do not.

Look At Your Insurance Policy:

Does your home insurance policy include flood insurance? Do you actually know what your home insurance policy covers? Rectify that situation by actually looking at your insurance policy and speaking to your insurance agent about adding flood insurance if it doesn’t. Remember Murphy’s Law—if something bad can happen and it’s not covered by your insurance, it will.

Pay Attention During Rain:

Take a walk in the rain, and not purely for enjoyment. Pay attention to your landscaping—where does water pool? If it’s near your house, consider hiring a landscaper to make that water go some place else. Have you ever considered a decorative pond?

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Revisit Your Basement Storage:

Supposing the worst does happen, the bankers boxes full of old photos will be wrecked and moldy. Move irreplaceables and valuables to higher ground. For things you choose to keep in the basement, consider replacing your cardboard storage solutions with

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Act Quickly If You Flood:

If you do flood, make sure you know it with a water sensor will let you know if it comes into contact with liquid—especially if you don’t frequent your basement or this particular property and you aren’t likely to notice a leak. Water alarms alert you as soon as water is detected, allowing you to act fast and turn off the water before more damage can occur! Mold can develop in anything holding moisture within 24 hours, so throw away anything that will grow a science experiment quickly, dry everything as best you can and disinfect anything that came into contact with water. The faster you react, the less of a chance you have of incurring lasting damage or a mold problem that just won’t quit.

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As April Showers approach, make sure that you have properly prepared to make sure that your valuables don’t get washed away. This way, when May Flowers hit, you’ll have have time to thoroughly enjoy it!