April Showers

Our family has dealt with flooded basements pretty much since I was a child.

I grew up about three blocks from our office, where every drop of rain meant a potentially flooded basement. I was young when we moved out, so I don’t remember much about that basement. From what I’m told though, the basement was finished and even had a rug. Ouch!

After moving into my first home in 2006, it was as if the idea of a flooded basement was passed on from generation to generation; from my parents to myself.

My home’s original owner had mentioned that the basement collected some rain water by the window, but nothing too monumental. Of course that was before Hurricanes Irene, which pounded the house mercilessly and resulted in over 200 gallons of water in the basement.

My family (and co-workers) were great with the clean up operations. Here’s what we did, as well as some tips for how you can keep your basement as dry as possible during a storm:

  • The best solution is a sump pump. My grandfather had one of these in his basement, and I can’t remember his basement ever taking on water. There is also coverage that can be endorsed onto your homeowners policy should the pump ever fail. For more information, pricing, etc., contact our office!
  • A wet/dry vacuum is essential for any homeowner and even for cleaning your automobile. While the typical vacuum is great for cleaning rugs and some hardwood floors, a wet/dry has more suction and hoses for hard to reach areas. In the event of water damage, the vacuum can clean up gallons of water at a time. Mine, for example, holds up to 12 gallons.
  • Clean the gutters! During the worst of Hurricane Irene, I could see where the water was seeping into the home. Just above the window that the previous owner had mentioned, it was as if someone was constantly pouring buckets of water right into the dirt and mulch just next to the window. It turns out that the water was overflowing due to a blockage about 1-2 feet away. Once I cleaned it out (during the storm), the water flowed back to the gutter and away from the house.
  • Clean up the basement. Piles of clean or dirty laundry should be separated and moved out of harm’s way. It’s also wise to make sure electronics or valuables are elevated in the event of a major disaster.
  • Call our office in the event of any major damage. While rain water is typically not covered if it comes up from the ground, we can still put you in touch with a service that will help clean up the damage if you cannot (or simply don’t want to).

A few years after Irene, our area faced Hurricane Sandy. Our neighborhood was fortunate that most of the damage passed us by, but you can be sure I was on a ladder checking the gutters, cleaning the basement and making sure my vacuum was ready for disaster. And of course, making sure the family was on speed dial.


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