The beauty of a fresh blanket of new-fallen snow can transform a city street or a country hillside into a winter wonderland. The snowflakes drifting from the sky and landing silently on treetops and rooftops can give us a peaceful feeling as we take in the scene. But beware the dangers that these snowfalls can bring with them. Not all snowfalls are peaceful, and the aftermath of a foot of snow can be a ton of water damage and basement disaster.
It’s raining, it’s pouring…and the average rainfall is soaring! According to Ohio’s Country Journal/Ohio Ag Net, the average rainfall across Ohio totaled 52 inches from June 1, 2018, to May, 31, 2019. That makes it the wettest yearlong period in Ohio since 1895! Not only does all that rain take its toll on the farming industry, but that means that well over 10 more inches of rain has fallen on rooftops across Ohio and Michigan this year than average. That excess rainfall can put a strain on downspout drainage systems everywhere. When your home’s downspout drainage system fails, damage to your foundation can result.
You flip the light switch and start down the basement stairs. Suddenly you freeze like a deer in headlights. The reflection of the basement light glares up at you off the several inches, or feet, of water covering everything in your basement. Your heart pounds in your ears and your stomach churns. Panic-stricken you turn the light off, wait a moment, and turn it back on. No, it’s not a dream, this is real – a real nightmare. Your basement is flooded.
How your property handles water drainage is one thing you can’t overlook. If you’ve had concerns about waterproofing your home, you may have heard about an option called weeping tile. What is weeping tile? It’s an effective system for capturing and moving water away from your home that goes back centuries!
Rain, rain, go away… away from your home’s foundation that is! While rain is important for crops, lawns, trees and flowers, it is just as important to keep rain away from entering your basement and ruining your home’s foundation.
The best way to prevent water damage is to inspect and correct seemingly small issues before they become big issues. One important way to do this is to rainproof your home. Let’s look at some easy rain water damage prevention tips.
One of the most frequently overlooked home-maintenance projects is also one of the most important – cleaning the gutters. It probably ranks at the bottom of the list of enjoyable jobs; yet this “ounce of prevention” can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in home repairs if you just get out there and do it.
The tools necessary for cleaning your gutters can be as simple as a ladder and a pair of gloves. However, there are also several gadgets that can speed the process along; or at least be a great excuse to buy the latest and greatest attachment for your power washer!
Buying a house, any house, is not a spontaneous decision. There is much to consider with such an important investment. Buying a house with water damage adds a whole new level to the depth of considerations when deciding on a home to purchase.
Below are a few steps and tips to keep in mind when contemplating the purchase of a house that has water damage. Carefully weighing the facts and being realistic about your budget and risk tolerance is crucial. The same items that could be a deal breaker for you may not even faze another potential buyer. Gather all the facts and if you decide to purchase, be vigilant about repairs and proactive about preventing future water damage.
Some parts of your home do their job without you even realizing it; a sump pump is one of those things. It’s surprisingly common for many home owners to know very little about their pumps unless it’s not working correctly. Because of this, some new homeowners may ask “why do you need a sump pump at all?” Read on to discover the risks of foregoing this crucial part of protecting your home.
Weather can be unpredictable. One moment it’s snowing, the next it feels like spring. While many long for warmer temperatures throughout the bulk of winter, it’s important to appreciate the risk that rapid rises in temperature can cause to your home. Your joy of the warm, sunny day may evaporate the moment you notice the snowmelt flooding your basement.
The most important thing to remember is to never enter a basement that’s flooded if it could have electricity running. Chances are if your basement flooded, you either don’t have a sump pump, or you don’t have a sump pump with an emergency battery backup. If the power went out, you may want to get it restored right away to get your sump pump going again. But any electricity in the water creates a deadly hazard. Make sure to disable ALL of the power to the basement, a socket that’s not being used or loose wires you can’t see can still electrify the water.
Additionally, if your flood was due to backed up sewage, the average homeowner is not equipped to safely clean it up. You will need to contact a professional, as sewage can contain a large volume of contaminants that spread illness or disease.
Steps for Cleaning Up:
#1. Turn Off Water & Power.
If your basement flooding happened due to a leaky or burst pipe, the first step is to turn off the water. This will prevent any further water from filling the space and give you time to contact a plumber. It’s also critical to ensure the power is off for the entire basement. If you’re not completely confident that the water is safe, don’t attempt to enter the basement at all— call a professional.
#2. Remove Everything You Can
When you’re positive there’s no risk of electric shock, you can begin removing items that can be saved. Start by taking out any electronics, both for safety purposes and to potentially salvage them. You will have to remove furniture and anything stored in the area. Depending on the purity of the water, some of it may be reusable once it’s dried. A leaky pipe often just causes water damage, but backed up sewage or a groundwater flood will likely introduce bacteria into anything it touches, requiring you to throw it away or have it professionally cleaned.
#3. Clean Up Excess Water
Once your basement is safe and you have most of your salvageable items removed, you can start to tackle the water that’s remaining. There are a number of ways accomplish this, but they depend on the equipment you have available. The simplest solution is to use towels and buckets, soaking up and dumping the water elsewhere. A shop vac can also help, but make sure not to plug it in anywhere that could put you at risk for electric shock.
#4. Remove Moisture
After your basement has had all of the flooded water removed, you’ll need to dry out the area. Open the windows and use fans to help remove moisture from the environment. If you own a dehumidifier, make sure to turn it on with the windows closed and regularly empty it. Remember when using a dehumidifier to remove contaminated water that the dehumidifier itself will then also be contaminated and should be replaced after you’re finished.
If your basement is carpeted, you will need to remove the carpet. Even if you do everything to dry it out, moisture can stay trapped beneath it and lead to major mold problems. You probably won’t be able to save the carpet, especially if the flood came from an unclean water source.
You will also need to remove drywall and insulation. They can act as sponges for the water, and you’ll need to access the areas behind them to fully dry out the supports and make sure no wiring is still exposed to water. It’s highly recommended to leave these steps to a professional, to ensure the job is done thoroughly and without risking more damage to your home.
#5. Disinfect the Area
Once the basement is dry, you will have to disinfect everything. Even if the flood water was “clean,” moisture can quickly let bacteria and mold begin to thrive in your basement. Any surface that was wet or near the flood will need to be thoroughly disinfected. This may drastically reduce your chance for developing mold or other illnesses in the future.
Protect Yourself Against Water Damage
There’s a lot you can do to avoid water damage. Staying proactive will help reduce your risk of flooding, and save yourself countless hours and potentially hundreds of dollars in damage and expenses from a basement flood.
Keep Your Gutters Maintained
gutters are your home’s first line of defense