The way a house “sheds” water is the key to moisture control inside your home.  I was called out to many homes this summer due to flooding basements to help find the source of the water or to investigate for mold due to the water.  In most cases the water problem was easily preventable.

During the fall and winter months, water is rarely an issue due to the lack of rain and the frozen snow.  Many people forget to take the steps to get there home ready for the spring thaw and the rain that is very common in spring and early summer.  A little work can prevent serious problems later.

Eaves troughs and downspouts are a key component to preventing water in the basement.  Fall is a time when the leaves come off the trees and can easily clog downspouts and eaves troughs.  Clean them out so you are ready or the spring thaw.  Make sure your downspouts are extended away from the house and are attached.  A loose downspout can get kicked off by the mailman or paperboy and go through the winter undetected. This will create all kinds of problems in the spring.

Take a look at your grading.  I have seen many water issues simply because the slope of the ground lets water flow towards a house.  Over time the dirt around the foundation settles so what was a good grade a few years ago may be poor grade today.  Take the time to walk around  your home and correct the grade if required.

Lastly take a look at all components of you sump pump if your house has a one.  Open the cover in the basement and lift the float to activate the pump.  This tests both the float and the pump.  I do recommend a sump pit alarm as a sump pump can fail at any time so an alarm will alert you of a failure before its is two late.  Look for how your sump pump discharges outside your home.  A sump hose should extend 6 feet from the property and should have a downward slope.  I often find long hoses attached to a sump extending the discharge to the end of a property, many times with high and low spots.  In the winter this hose can freeze and the water will not be pumped from the house.  You sump will run continuously and is likely to burnout.

Use these tips wisely and your are not likely to see any water in your basement next year!