Don't Get Caught Out

The weather can catch you off-guard in a hurry, leading to disastrous results for anyone who is not prepared. If you plan ahead, you can prevent water damage to your house from different weather events. Follow these tips to keep water from ruining your house and valuables.


1. Install sump pumps and test them regularly.

If you live in an area that receives significant rainfall, you should highly consider installing at least one sump pump in your basement. Sump pumps sit in a well or hole below your basement. As the water level in the ground rises, the pumps suck up the water and pump it far away from the house through a pipe. Once you have sump pumps installed, test them regularly by pouring water in the wells and watching to see if the pumps suck the water out quickly.


2. Keep sandbags on hand.

If you live near a body or water or somewhere that has a history of flooding, you should keep ready-made sandbags on your property. In the event of weather that threatens to flood your house, set up the sandbags so they direct the water away from your house’s foundation, keeping your house free of flood damage.


3. Maintain your roof.

Keep a watchful eye on your roof for missing shingles or other sings of damage or wear. Form a good relationship with a qualified roofer, who can make necessary repairs early or even replace your roof once it has aged out. At the first sign of water stains on a ceiling inside your house, call your roofer for help.


4. Take steps to prevent ice dams.

An ice dam forms at the edge of a house’s roof when the warm air from inside the house makes its way into the attic. The warm air melts part of the snow on the roof, causing the water to run down until it hits the ice cold edge of the roof, freezing the water again. Over time a literal dam of ice builds up. This dam actually pushes the water from melted snow backward up the roof, forcing it under the shingles and onto the substrate so the water can leak through the roof and into the house. You can prevent ice dams by insulating your attic well. If insulation doesn’t do the trick, install heat coils on the roof’s overhangs, which when turned on will melt the ice and do away with the ice dam.


5. Slope landscaping away from your house’s foundation.

One of the goals of a house’s landscaping is to properly manage precipitation, directing it far away from the foundation. To do this, landscaping must slope away from the house. In some situations this may involve installing drains or buried pipes to direct the water to a lower elevation. A qualified landscaping specialist can help plan a yard design that properly directs water away from the house.


6. Keep your rain gutters and spouts clog-free.

Leafs, twigs, dirt and other debris can collect in a house’s rain gutters and spouts, leading to clogs. Every spring and fall you should climb up on a ladder and remove all debris from your house’s rain gutters. Use your garden hose to send water down each spout to check for clogs. If you find any clogs, sending a plumbing snake down the spout to remove them.


7. Prevent frozen pipes.

In areas where the temperature regularly dips well past freezing during the winter months, you should take measures to ensure none of the water supply pipes in the house freeze. While a frozen pipe can be annoying because it cuts off the flow of water, it can also lead to flooding if the pipe bursts. Properly insulating the exterior walls of your house is a good way to prevent frozen pipes. You can also install insulating sleeves on the pipes themselves, including some that use electricity to keep the pipes warm on particularly cold nights.


8. Turn off water to spickets.

Water spickets, or the exterior faucets you hook garden hoses up to on your house, can be sources of flooding when the weather turns cold. Since the faucet sits on the outside of the house, any water in the supply pipe that sits near the actual faucet can suddenly freeze, causing the pipe to burst. Since you won’t be watering your garden during the winter, close the shutoff valve to each water spicket. 

Drain Excess Water Away from Your House

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