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How to flood proof your home

Flooding is one problem homeowners can prevent by taking a few simple steps


While the notion of a dream house is nice, every home eventually experiences a problem or two.

Many problems are bound to occur sooner or later, but there are a few that diligent homeowners can prevent.

One of those preventable problems is flooding. Any home with floor drains or plumbing fixtures below street level can flood, and this can be due to inclement weather, such as heavy rainstorms, local sewer system backup, or groundwater swelling. Flooding can even occur in the spring when melting occurs as the air temperature increases.

While homeowners won't be able to control the weather, they can take steps to flood proof their home.

. Do some preventive landscaping. If the ground around the home's foundation slopes toward the house, make some grading changes so that the ground slopes away from the home.

. Insulate the heating ducts. Some home heating ducts are under the basement floor. In such homes, homeowners should make sure these ducts are properly insulated and watertight.

. Make sure the vents all lead outside the home. The weather can cause moisture issues, but some moisture problems can come from inside the home as well. Clothes dryers and bathrooms are both internal moisture sources, and these sources should always be vented outside the home.

. Clean gutters and downspouts. Gutters and downspouts should be cleaned to ensure water is effectively being diverted away from the home. Clean gutters and downspouts in the spring after a long winter, and do so again in the fall to keep fallen leaves from blocking the flow of water. Downspouts should extend four feet from the outside wall of the house.

. Inspect the home at least once a year. Before buying a home, buyers often hire a professional inspector to ensure the home is safe and sound. But the inspections should not stop once buyers sign on the dotted line. To prevent flooding, homeowners should inspect their home's foundation for cracks once a year. If the home has a chimney and fireplace, check for cracks there as well. If any cracks are discovered, consult a professional immediately.

. Clean out basement drains. Basement drains should be cleaned annually from the house to the street. If the drains are still slow after cleaning, then clean them more than once a year.

. When leaving the home for an extended period of time, turn the water valve off. Homeowners worried about flooding can calm those fears when going on vacation or another long trip by turn the water valve off at the source. This ensures that, should a line break while no one is home, water will not pump into the house.

Flood proofing a home can save homeowners from potentially costly repairs and unsightly damage.