How To: Waterproof Your Home

Four ways to prevent spring floods from ruining your house

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012  |  Updated 3:12 PM EDT
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How To: Waterproof Your Home

MICHAEL KEYES

To help prevent flooding, downspouts should dump water between three and five feet away from your home.

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This article is sponsored by Michael & Son, the leading full-service plumbing, electrical, HVAC and remodeling company serving the Washington D.C. area for over 30 years. Learn more about Michael & Son at MichaelandSon.com.

With a mild winter behind us, it's time to brace ourselves for April showers. Sure, they're responsible for May flowers, but they can also cause severe damage to your home.

Consider the stats: Six inches of rain is enough to sweep an adult off his or her feet, while two feet of flooding is enough to carry a car away. Just imagine what that level of liquid can do to your basement, let alone your entire home.

Short of shrink wrapping your house in GORE-TEX®, there are four critical things you can do to ensure interiors stay dry.

  • Sump pump: Water collects in your home's sump pit (think of it as the basement's basin), meaning a sump pump -- which is designed to remove any excess water -- is your first line of defense when preventing potential flooding. There are two types of pumps to choose from: A pedestal pump is activated once water reaches a certain level, while a submersible sump pump never allows water to accumulate in the first place. Which pump is right for you depends on the size of your basement (and the advice of a professional).
  • Roof gutters: A rickety gutter that is clogged with debris increases the chances of a leaky roof and, ultimately, a flooded basement. Avoid the mess, damage and hassle by making sure yours are sturdy and fully cleaned out.
  • Aim downspouts away: Downspouts do no good if they're pointed too close to your home. Make sure to aim them away so that water is dumped between three and five feet clear of your house's exterior. You can test downspout runoff by running a garden house into your gutter.
  • Sandbags are a must: Just because you might not be preparing for a deluge of biblical proportions doesn't mean you shouldn't be building a wall of defense. Start with sandbags, which can be used to block the entry points of flood water (just make sure to leave a clear exit in case of an emergency).

Lastly, if water still invades your home, keep clear of the filthy runoff, which can make you sick or sweep you away. Of course the best way of reducing the risk of flooding is by scheduling an appointment with a trained Michael & Son professional, who can ensure your home is fit for any inclement weather.

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