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Five ways to keep melting snow out of your basement this spring
Mar 10, 2014
Spring’s sunshine and warmer temperatures quickly melt piles of snow and ice, but where does all that water go? Grinnell Mutual recommends inspecting your downspouts, window wells, basement, garage, and sump pump to prevent melting ice and snow from entering your home.
1. Check your downspout.
"Where do your downspouts drain? If they drain just beyond the foundation wall, consider purchasing some extensions so they drain five to six feet away from your home’s foundation," says Larry Gallagher, director of Corporate Loss Control at Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company.
"This will help the melted water flow away from the foundation instead of saturating the soil near the foundation or entering window wells and cracks." Also check the downspout for clogs that may prevent water from flowing through the spout.
2. Look at the foundation.
"Where do utility lines enter the foundation? Make certain all entry points are properly sealed with caulk to prevent water from flowing through those openings," says Gallagher.
Also check for cracks on the wall and floor where water may seep into the basement.
3. Seal window wells.
"Consider installing tightly sealed covers over window wells so water doesn’t accumulate in the window well," says Gallagher.
The perimeter of those windows should be tightly caulked and sealed to prevent any kind of water entry. Do not seal basement windows used for escape or life safety.
4. Check your garage door.
Make sure the garage door closes tightly against the concrete floor of the garage.
"Does it seal at the bottom? Are the seals in good condition or dry rotted and in need of replacement? Grinnell Mutual’s loss control staff has seen air gaps between the garage door and the floor of the garage. Look for cracking or dry rot. That’s a good indication it needs to be replaced. It’s a low-cost, easy thing to do," says Gallagher.
5. Grade your soil.
To prevent basement and garage flooding next spring, place soil around your home’s foundation this summer. Properly grading the soil will help to divert water from the foundation.
If water enters your garage or basement
In spite of your efforts to caulk cracks and replace door seals, you may still have water enter your garage or basement. The best way to prevent that water from damaging your home is to have a sump pump in good working condition.
"Test the pump before you need for it to work to make sure the battery backup is fully charged." says Gallagher. "When you need it is not the time to discover that it’s not working and needs to be replaced."
Inspection can prevent costly repairs
"The key to prevent flooding is to divert water from the foundation instead of saturating the soil near the foundation," says Gallagher. "These basic, low cost solutions will help prevent or divert water from entering your basement or garage."