HOW TO PREVENT FLOODING AND WATER DAMAGE .

Below are common causes of indoor flooding and what you can do to prevent them. This comprehensive guide will help you identify, troubleshoot and repair typical sources of flooding in your home or business. We’re still working on this guide!

COMMON CAUSE OF INDOOR FLOODING AND HOW TO FIX THEM:

GROUNDWATER INFILTRATION

Inadequate drainage is a slow, yet serious problem. If your yard is frequently wet, or you notice that you regularly have standing water in a certain area of your property, you may have a drainage problem. You can take simple steps to ensure that you have proper drainage near the foundation of your home.

But this is not always enough. Other factors may cause poor drainage. Water around the foundation can cause erosion and leak into the foundation, causing cracks in the winter. These tips could help you improve drainage on your property and potentially save you thousands.

Simple Solutions for Improving Drainage

There are a few simple upgrades and preventative steps that will drastically improve the drainage on your property. You don’t need to be an expert, and you don’t need any special equipment. A quick trip to the hardware store is all it might take. The primary concern for yard drainage is directing water away from your home and your foundation. The following tips are quick and easy, but won’t solve the problem of inadequate drainage, only treat it:

  • Proper Gutter Maintenance—clean the gutters. Simple as that. If your gutters are clogged they may overflow and leak water directly next to your foundation. Also be sure to check downspouts and sump pump discharge pipes for clogs. The only tools you need are a ladder and your hands. By simply cleaning your gutters and ensuring there are no clogs, you can improve drainage and prevent serious foundational damage.
  • Proper Downspout & Discharge Pipe Length—Ensure your downspout and discharge pipe ends at least six feet away from your home. This allows water to flow far enough away from your home to protect your foundation. Gutters and discharge pipes are designed to carry water AWAY from your home. If they drain directly next to the base of the house, they are virtually useless. Water will collect mere inches away from your foundation and will cause serious erosion and foundational damage over time. Take a trip to the hardware store and buy proper downspouts and gutters to ensure the safety of your home. Spend $100 now, save $1,000 later.

Bigger Problems

If you notice a specific area in your yard is regularly wet, or has standing water, you might have a leaking pipe. Call 811 for information regarding the location of plumbing on your property. Once you have located the leak, you can determine the proper course of action.

The leak is only a true threat if it is near your foundation. If the leak is nearby, but not next to the foundation, it is only a matter of time before the leak grows and reaches the foundation. If the leak is right next to your foundation, you need to fix it as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this means calling an excavator and digging up the broken pipe. This is costly, but cheaper than repairing more extensive foundational damage.

Gutters and Downspouts Maintenance and Repair Tips – Home 101


PLUMBING FAILURE

Toilets put up with a lot of crap, and when they fail, they can be a bit of a mess. The problem could be a serious clog or a damaged seal, but each has the potential to cause serious damage.

A small leak around the wax ring (where the toilet meets the floor) can cause serious problems. This seal is located beneath the linoleum, and a leak can threaten the flooring around your toilet. First, drain the toilet and remove it to replace the seal. A new wax ring can be found at your local hardware store.

A back up caused by a clog is a particularly messy, unsanitary and unsafe problem. Water could permeate the wood floor, holes in caulking seals or other wood such as trim. Not only can this damage the wood or the seal, but it also provides a breeding ground for bacteria found in human waste and can lead to serious mold problems. The first step is to take the lid off the tank and lift the float as high as it will go. This will stop the flow of water. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and unclog the toilet with a plunger. To prevent clogs monitor what you flush. Only flush waste and toilet paper. Paper towels, tampons, maxi pads, q-tips, makeup removal swabs and other items will only clog your toilet.

Fix a Toilet That Keeps Running – by Home Repair Tutor

Sinks can leak in a number of places, but the cause is usually a damaged seal. Leaking sinks pose a real threat. Water leaking down beneath the sink can damage the floors, and water leaking onto the counter can damage the counter tops. Most importantly, standing water under the sink provides a perfect breeding ground for bacteria or mold to grow and multiply near where you and your family prepare and eat food.

Fixing a damaged seal can be simple or complicated depending on the type of sink you have. Luckily, most seals are easy to replace. Once you have located the leak, remove the section of pipe and replace the damaged seal. Usually, the most advanced tool you’ll need is a set of vise grips.

If a leak occurs somewhere without a seal, unscrew the section of pipe and see if the threads are stripped. If they are, it’s time to upgrade. In either case, when you put it back together, be sure to apply Teflon tape to the threads for a good seal. If the seal around your sink (where the sink meets the counter) you can try to re-caulk the seal, but it is generally recommended to call a professionals.

How to Fix a Kitchen Sink Drain – Basic Plumbing


LEAKING ROOF

Gutters and fascia also play a key role in protecting your roof and keeping it dry. If your gutters are damaged or clogged, water may pool and flow into vulnerable areas where two sections of the roof meet. Similarly, if you have a downspout that empties on to your roof, which drains to your gutters, you might be creating a problem.

Downspouts like this are usually near areas where flashing may be loose, threatening a leak, and running water will cause problems no matter what. You can remedy this by extending the downspout away from the flashings, or all the way to the gutters. The fascia, the board attached to the end of the rafters (think of it as the “side” of your roof), could also be causing a problem. Bad gutters are likely to affect the fascia. Water could permeate the fascia, either rotting through it or falling behind it, and create a number of problems. The water could affect the insulation and rafters behind, or weaken and crumble. This is an aesthetic problem more than anything, but indicates that your roof has water problems. Replace the fascia and ensure water can run into the gutters.


WINTER PREPARATION

Winter is coming. Under the weight of heavy snow, your roof and your home will be pushed to their limit. Luckily, there are a few preventative steps you can make to ensure your home is winter ready. Before you do anything, if you know something leaks, repair it right away. Water will expand as it freezes and make the leak larger, causing more problems and driving up repair bills.

  • Ensure your gutters and downspouts are free of debris. Clogged gutters create ice dams, putting extreme pressure on your roof.
  • Check for loose, damaged or cracked shingles. Assess for damage and replace as necessary.
  • Install heat tape or heat cable to prevent the formation of ice dams.
  • Purchase a roof rake. You may use this tool to clear snow off your roof. But use with care—shingles crack easily in winter.

Roofmax: How to Prepare your Roof for Winter Part 1


  • Keep heat at the same temperature throughout winter. Sudden temperature changes destabilize the integrity of the pipe, leading to bursts.
  • Check the seals around your windows and doors to ensure they are in good condition. Moisture can be trapped near them, freeze and cause damage.
  • Check the insulation in the walls and attic. Repair any damaged areas.
  • Replace your window screens with storm windows.
  • Keep the curtains and blinds closed to keep in the heat.
  • Take off your shoes! The water and salt you leave in your tracks warp and stain hardwood floors.

If you open a faucet and notice a trickle, a frozen pipe may be to blame (especially if the pipe is on or near the exterior of your home). Do not use a blow torch, kerosene or propane heater or any other open flame to thaw the pipe. These need proper ventilation and present a serious fire hazard. If the pipe is outside your home, a kerosene or propane heater is acceptable. To safely thaw a pipe, wrap it in towels that have been soaked in warm water, use an electric hair dryer or electric space heater. Be sure to leave the faucet open, as running water is slow to freeze.


STORM FLOODING PREVENTION AND PREPARATION

The most devastating floods occur on account of natural disasters such as hurricanes or monsoons. If Mother Nature insists, she will have her way with your property and it will flood no matter your best efforts. However, except for these rare catastrophes, there are steps you can take to protect your home against flash flooding in most major storms.

You can fortify natural water collection areas with retaining walls to give you extended protection against flooding. Identify water collection areas on your property and give them a boost with a gravity, cantilever, piling or anchored retaining wall.

Vegetation, including shrubs, grass or bushes, greatly slow the movement of water. Consider allowing wild grasses and trees to grow out, particular on steep slopes. It may not seem like much, but you’d be surprised by how much water dense greenery can absorb, and the extent to which it prevents erosion.

Ensure the land around your home slopes away from the building. Obviously, if your home stands in a bowl, you’re going to have significant flooding problems. Likewise, you don’t need to live on top of a mountain to keep water away, either. Only a slight elevation keeps water from seeping into the foundation and into your home.


Ensure storm drains on the street in front of your home are clear of debris if you live in a city or town with an underground drainage or sewer system. Clogged storm drains on city streets are the main reason for large scale flooding in highly populated areas. If you allow leaves or other loose objects to collect and block water flow, you’re asking for trouble.

Clear out any culverts or swales on your property. Swales are natural collection areas for water—the more space taken up by leaves, debris or other objects in a swale, the less room there is for water to pool. The sooner the pool reaches its limit, the sooner you’ve got water flooding in your basement. Do the same with any culverts on your property, most likely found beneath your driveway. Remember—water will seek the lowest point. The more vigilant you are about keeping low points clear, the less the likelihood of water getting into your home.

Unclog roof gutters and direct downspouts away from your house. Clogged gutters send water spilling over the edge of your roof and onto the driveway, porch or patio, where water isn’t meant to collect. Also check your gutters and downspouts for holes and cracks—leaking gutters aren’t doing you much good. The further away you can direct the downspout from your house, the better. However, if the grade around your home slopes away even the slightest, this isn’t as much of a priority.


Always ask this question. Take a walk around your house and track the potential flow of water from high to low. Where does it collect? Once it reaches the ground, where does it go? Are there vulnerabilities in the foundation? Will you be getting water draining from the neighbor’s property? Follow the flow of water on your entire property down to its final collection area.

Once you know where the water goes, you can make the changes necessary to keep water from collecting in the wrong place—scilicet, your basement!

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