This week’s rainy weather has resulted in many Twin Cities neighbors reporting that their basements are a little soggy. For some homeowners, this is a regular occurrence. Others are reporting water for the first time in decades! Finding water inside your home can feel like a nightmare. What can you to do clean up the mess and prevent it from happening again?
Cleaning up after minor flooding
If you find water in your home, there are several steps you can take. The first is safety! If there is standing water, you may be at risk for electrical shock. Call your electrical provider before proceeding. Do not step into the water until you are certain your electrical main is off. You may also need to hire a flood restoration service.
- If possible, identify the source of the water. Is it backing up through a floor drain, seeping in from the foundation, trickling in at a window opening? If you can do so safely, address the water at the source.
- If you have floor drains, make sure they are cleared and not clogged.
- Use towels, a mop, or a wet/dry vacuum to remove excess water. If you’ve identified the source of the water and it is still entering, you may need to vacuum the water as it is coming in.
- Dry the area. If you have carpeting, you may need to remove it temporarily. Use fans and dehumidifiers to dry out the basement and remove moisture. Drywall that has gotten wet may need to be removed.
- Clean up. Mold and mildew can set if after moisture has penetrated the home. Scrub solid surfaces with a diluted bleach solution (not more than one cup of bleach per gallon of water.) Be sure to wear eye protection and work in a ventilated space. Take frequent breaks for fresh air.
Preventing future water infiltration
- Maintain gutters and downspouts. Keep your gutters free of leaves and debris, and make sure downspouts and extensions are attached to carry water away from the foundation of your home. (Be a good neighbor: be careful that you are not directing flow toward other nearby homes!)
- Correct drainage problems with landscaping. Make sure the soil around your home slopes away from the foundation so that water does not pool against your house. Be watchful around basement. Swales and rain gardens are specially designed to catch or divert runoff water and allow it to percolate safely into the soil and back into the groundwater system.
- Consider installing drain tile and a sump system. Sometimes even when everything is working well, drainage patterns below ground still bring water into the home. A drainage and sump system will capture water as it enters your foundation wall and drain to a central point where it can be pumped back outside.
What will my insurance cover?
A typical homeowner policy doesn’t cover damage from flooding. In most cases you will need to have an additional flood insurance rider. And even then, there are limits on what is covered. The structure itself and the mechanical systems are usually included. The contents (furniture, your books, things you’ve stored in the utility room) won’t be covered under most policies.
You can learn more about flood insurance, including how to buy, here: https://www.consumerreports.org/flood-insurance/what-flood-insurance-does-and-does-not-cover/
About the Author:
Helping people find homes has been a passion of mine and I am glad to be able to do that as a member of the NeighborWorks Home Partners team. As Marketing and Communications Coordinator, I am working to build community online and offline, spread the word about the services we offer, and share the success stories of our customers. I enjoy gardening (in theory; I don’t seem to have the time to keep up with it), volunteering, singing in choirs, finding treasures and deals at thrift stores, and living the hectic life of a parent to teen children.
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