Although a warm day following heavy snowfall can be a relief, it can also cause snow melt that floods basements and damages your home. While most people associate flooding with the rainy weather of spring, the sudden influx of water from rapidly melting snow is just as dangerous for your home's foundation and can do major damage to your possessions once it gets inside the house. Here are some tips on how to prevent basement flooding, and some information about how to handle a basement that's already gotten soggy:
Clean the gutters
Counterintuitively, you'll need to look up if you want to prevent flooding in your basement. The gutters on your home are a crucial part of the system that diverts water away from your house as snow melts off the roof. If they aren't functioning properly, water won't be directed away, and will instead sit directly against your home's foundation. Once too much builds up, your basement will become a pond. To stop that from happening, clean your gutters regularly. Oftentimes winter flooding occurs when fall leaves are not removed from gutters before heavy snowfall. While it might not be appealing to hop on a ladder in the cold, it can save you from having to renovate a basement later.
Check the foundation
Once water seeps into the cinder blocks and concrete that make up your home's foundation, all it takes is a freeze for serious cracks to form. Once things have thawed out, those cracks become a great way for water to sneak into your home. Before the snowfall gets too intense, contact a home inspection company and have a professional examine your home's foundation. If they find anything, get it fixed immediately. Even if your basement has remained dry in the past, be sure to get it checked out annually. It's very easy for water damage to begin in the summer months and only cause serious problems when the weather gets cold.
Sometimes, even the best inspection and planning can be thwarted by a particularly intense snowfall. This can lead to the flooded basement that every homeowner has nightmares about. While dealing with flooding isn't pleasant, here are some tips to make the best of it:
While you may feel the urge to run into your flooded basement and grab some valuables, don't be too hasty. Water conducts electricity, and your electronic devices might shock you from across the room. To avoid that happening, don't enter the room until any standing water has drained out. If you absolutely must get certain items out, locate your fuse box and flip off the electricity for your basement.
Turn up the heat
Obviously, your main goal with a flooded basement is to dry things out. In the summer, you'd be able to open the basement's windows, but the winter takes away that luxury. To cut down on moisture, crank up your home's heat and invest in a dehumidifier. This will encourage evaporation, and should get the majority of the water out relatively quickly.
Say goodbye to the carpet
Structural damage is the least of your concerns when faced with flooding. What you really need to watch out for are long-term dangers like mold that can begin to grow inside of your carpet and the pad underneath. This is an insidious problem that can lead to serious health issues if you don't prevent it. While it might be painful, you must throw out the carpet and pad that got soaked in the flooding. Doing so is the only way to be sure that no mold will grow in the coming years.