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Bill Jones, 518-260-2967

Yeah! It’s Spring! And why is my basement flooding?

It’s been a long tough winter. Those of us that enjoy skiing and hiking have had a good time. But all of us are looking forward to the warmth and sunshine that is spring.

Take a look outside of your home and ask yourself, “Where will all of that water from the snow and spring rains go to?”

For some of us, the answer is, “Right into our basement!”

As I mentioned before, this has been a long tough winter. I have already had numerous calls about flooding in basements. Inspections I have made on homes with finished basements that the owners say have never had a drop of water, are flooding. January’s temporary warm spell with heavy rains were a precursor to this spring.

Many of us who have never had water in our basements will be seeing water coming into our homes in the coming weeks.

Why does this happen? Water will always seek the path of least resistance. Gravity pulls it down and if it is trapped between your unfrozen basement walls and the frozen ground outside, guess where it’s going.

All of that snow on your roof has melted along with the snow around your house. The ground has probably frozen to a depth of up to 4 feet over the winter and will trap the water against your foundation walls. If you don’t have gutters, all the water comes straight off the roof. If your gutter downspouts let the water out next to the house, you could see water flowing into the basement in these areas.

Now that the ground is melting, we have water in our basements.

But now is the time to do something about preventing it for next year. Here are some simple and not so simple things to do:

  • Make sure your gutters are CLEAN
  • Make sure the downspouts are intact and run the water at least 4 feet or more away from your foundation.
  • Make sure that the soil slopes away from your home. (This is one of those not so simple ones)
  • Put crushed stone instead of dirt near the home. This will also help with any termite or carpenter ant problems.
  • Do everything you can to make sure water runs away from your house and not into it.
  • Clean out your basement window wells. Make sure there is no debris in them that will allow water to go over the sill and into the basement.
  • Make sure your sump pump is working and that it is low enough in the sump pit. You want to make sure you are bringing the water table down as far as possible.
  • Make sure the sump pump discharge hose is far enough away from the foundation. No sense having the water come right back into the basement. I’m sure it will enjoy the ride but you won’t.

And if all else fails, it may be time to do perimeter trenches around the house or contact a basement specialist that can come up with solutions that will guarantee a dry basement. Writing the check for this one is also one of those not so simple things.

Your home is your castle. Just make sure the moat is on the outside and not in the basement.