The arrival of spring is always a relief in the Midwest as the winter brings miserable weather conditions including blistering cold temperatures, subzero wind chills, snow, and ice. It is no wonder that those in the Fort Wayne area and throughout the greater Midwest are happy to feel warmer temperatures and watch the ice and snow disappear. While the weather in the spring is much more pleasant than winter weather, it still comes with its own problems.
In the Midwest, flooding is a major concern in the spring for a number of reasons. Melting ice and snow, increased rainfall, and the partially frozen ground create the right conditions for flooding to occur. If your home is not properly prepared, there is a good chance you could experience indoor flooding that can lead to considerable property damage. Flood waters can quickly penetrate porous building materials and furnishings, resulting in discoloration, warping, decay, structural damage, and even mold growth.
Prevention is the best action to take against flood damage. Now that the spring season is in full swing, it is important to take the right actions around your property to prevent in home flooding that could result in costly damage.
11 Flood Prevention Tips
1. Check for Foundation Cracks and Leaks
The basement is the most common area of a home to experience flooding. The biggest cause of basement flooding is cracks or gaps in the foundation that allow water to leak inside. Thoroughly check your foundation inside and out for gaps and cracks that can lead to leaks. When checking the inside of your basement, look for areas with condensation, stains, peeling paint, or mold growth to locate leaks. You can use hydraulic cement and caulk to fill cracks and small gaps. If there is extensive cracking in your foundation, you should consult a professional to address the damage.
If the foundation has no gaps or cracks but there is still a high level of moisture in the basement, run a dehumidifier to lower the moisture level. You should also look into various ways to improve the ventilation in your basement to lower the moisture.
2. Test and Maintain Sump Pump
The sump pump is a very important feature of your home that can prevent indoor flooding. You must provide the proper maintenance for your sump pump in the spring to ensure that it works effectively throughout the spring and summer. Make sure the basin of the sump pump is cleared of any debris and that the float is working properly. You should also consider having a battery backup ready to go in case you lose power in a storm. If your sump pump needs major repairs or maintenance, make sure you call a professional.
If you do not have a sump pump in your basement, you should consider installing one.
3. Remove Debris from Gutters and Downspouts
The gutters and downspouts on your home allow for the proper drainage of rain water which helps prevent water damage and indoor flooding. If the gutters and downspouts are clogged with debris, the water may overflow from the gutters, running down the side of the home and pooling at the foundation. This can lead to water damage of the roof and siding and the pool of water that forms near the foundation can cause foundational cracks or basement flooding. Make sure you remove all debris from the gutters and downspouts so that rain water can drain properly. You should also ensure that the downspouts deposit water far enough away from the foundation to prevent damage or indoor flooding.
4. Check Attic for Damage
The extreme cold, snow, and ice from the winter can cause damage in your attic. Make sure you inspect the underside of your roof and support beams, as well as the insulation for signs of damage, mold growth, or moisture. You should also make sure that your attic is properly insulated and properly ventilated to prevent condensation buildup. You can help reduce your heating and cooling bills by adding more insulation in your attic.
5. Check Roof for Damage
The snow, ice, and moisture of winter can damage your roof which can lead to leaks and other issues. If you can get on your roof, check the shingles, flashing, soffits, eaves, and overhangs for signs of damage. It is important to have any damage on your roof repaired immediately to prevent leaks and further damage that can shorten the lifespan of your roof. If you are not comfortable inspecting your roof, it is best to call a professional.
6. Grade Landscape
When water pools near the foundation of your home, there is a high risk for foundational damage or basement flooding. An effective way to prevent water from pooling near your home is to grade the ground so that it slopes away from the home. This will cause water to drain down the slope of the landscape and prevent it from pooling near the foundation.
7. Inspect Chimney for Damage
The chimney of your home can experience damage during the winter that will make it vulnerable to water damage in the spring. Make sure you check the outside of your chimney for signs of damage both within your home and on your roof. If you can, you should also check the inside of your chimney for possible damage. If the mortar is covered with a powdery coating, this means that the bricks are absorbing water. You can use masonry sealer to fill gaps where water leaks may occur. If there is extensive damage to your chimney, call a professional to address the damage.
8. Seal Exterior Walls
Check the exterior of your home for damage that could allow water to leak inside your home. Depending on the surface of the exterior of your home, you can use caulk, masonry sealer, plaster, or hydraulic cement to fill cracks and holes in the siding. Keeping the exterior walls properly sealed will prevent water leaks and keep insects and rodents from entering your home.
9. Weather Proof Doors and Windows
A tight weatherproof seal around doors and windows will effectively keep excess moisture and insects out of your home. If the weather stripping around your doors and windows is worn out or damaged, replace them as soon as possible. When swapping out your storm windows for screens, make sure there are no holes in the screens.
10. Check Driveways and Sidewalks
Make sure you inspect your driveway and the sidewalks near your home for signs of shifts or cracks. If the concrete or asphalt surfaces have cracked or shifted, this could be a sign of water issues underground. Cracks in these surfaces can also allow more water to seep underground which can lead to pooling water or basement flooding. Small cracks can be fixed by applying a sealer, but you should consult a professional to deal with major issues.
11. Check Sprinkler Systems
If you use a sprinkler system to maintain your lawn, make sure you check the sparkler heads, hoses, and other parts for damage. Any damaged or worn out parts should be replaced immediately to prevent leaks that can form pools of water in your yard. You should also make sure that your sprinklers water your yard evenly to prevent pooling.
Call a Professional for Water Damage Restoration
With the increased risk of water damage in the spring, it is important for all homeowners to follow these tips to protect their home. Taking the time to complete these tasks can help prevent major water damage that can be costly to fix. While water damage prevention is effective, it is still nearly impossible to completely prevent water damage from occurring.
If you experience water damage in your home despite your best prevention efforts, do not hesitate to call our professionals at ServiceMaster by Restoration Contractors at 260-420-1502. We are available in Fort Wayne, IN and the surrounding areas to provide complete water damage restoration services to deal with anything from water leaks to indoor flooding. We are also ready to provide storm damage restoration for homes that have sustained major structural damage as well as water damage in a storm.