The balmy spring is an especially welcome season for New Jerseyans after the long, frigid winter. Yet, along with pleasant temperatures come spring rains—a common trigger for spring flooding. Combine spring rains with the nor’easters that plague New Jersey, and basement flooding in these warmer months is a likely possibility.
Savvy homeowners can ward off the influx of melting snow and intense spring rainstorms and keep their basements dry. The following are a few handy tips to prevent spring flooding from destroying the typical Garden State basement:
Install a backwater valve.
Sewage backups in the basement can be prevented by installing a backwater valve. Certain townships in New Jersey, such as Hamilton Township, require residents to comply with plumbing codes and install backwater valves. Noncompliant homeowners are responsible for cleanup costs if sewage backups occur.
Keep the gutters clean.
Blocked gutter systems are a prime culprit when the basement gets damp after a rain or snowmelt. Gutters clogged by natural debris, such as twigs and dead leaves, fail to allow the rainwater into the downspout. Rather, the blockage ensures water spills over the gutter and down the home’s siding.
A second practical maneuver to direct rainwater away from the foundation is to properly position the downspouts. Install extensions if the downspouts do not direct water at least three feet away from the property. Ensure water does not pool around the base of the home—and keep the basement dry.
Clean the septic system.
Annually, the septic system should be cleaned out. Blockages in the system lines could lead to water infiltrating the basement. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection provides helpful maintenance guidelines and encourages septic owners to routinely manage their septic system.
Cleaning the septic system on a regular schedule is akin to maintaining a typical household appliance, like the furnace. Homeowners should know what can and cannot be allowed into the septic system. The NJDEP recommends that new property owners hire a professional to do a septic system inspection to avoid future repairs or issues.
Install window wells.
Windows in the basement are susceptible to leakages. Prevent rainwater from seeping into the basement by installing properly fitted window wells. Acrylic window wells are ideal for basement living, as the clear material allows light through but shuts out rain, critters and fallen debris.
Slope the yard.
Tackling the grade of the yard is helpful in cases where the lawn angles toward the house, which allows rainwater to pool around the property foundation and potentially leak into the home’s lowest level. Grading the lawn so that it slopes away from the foundation can be a DIY project.
Improving the landscape requires bags of soil, a wheelbarrow and a free weekend. Add soil to low points and around the perimeter of the home. Plant grasses or shrubs for a natural, aesthetic look. The newly sloped lawn—which slants away from the property foundation—gives rainwater an alternate path.
Build a French drain.
In the event that sloping the yard is impractical, elect to install a French drain. Designed to remove free-standing water from the home’s perimeter, the French drain is both extremely functional and easy to install. Building the drain requires slotted pipes and gravel and can be accomplished in an afternoon.
Resolve drainage issues by digging a trench 12 inches wide and 24 inches deep. In New Jersey, call 811 to determine if digging is safe and will not disrupt underground utilities. Drop a 4-inch diameter plastic pipe into the trench, line it with landscape fabric and fill with gravel.
Install a sump pump.
When a functional sump pump detects large amounts of water, the system will automatically pump out the excess. A sump pump that features an alarm notifies the homeowner of a battery fail; a backup pump is crucial during power outages and when the main pump is overworked.
While installing a sump pump helps keep the basement dry, regular maintenance is critical if the homeowner expects the device to kick in at the opportune time—namely, during heavy rains and flood conditions. A below-grade sump pump in the basement should be routinely cleaned of debris.
Seal foundation cracks.
Given the pervasive nature of water, moisture can seep through even hairline cracks in the foundation walls, leading to a water problem in the basement. Seal all foundation cracks with epoxy or masonry sealer. Large cracks are serious issues and require the services of a professional contractor.
Fix leaky and blocked pipes.
Faulty plumbing in the basement sends constant moisture into the vicinity. Repair leaky pipes as soon as they become evident. Temporary fixes can be achieved with clamps or waterproof tape. Permanent fixes require a plumber. Pipes that are blocked by debris can be unclogged using a plumbing snake.
Despite a homeowner’s best attempts to thwart a flooded basement in the spring, the inevitable may occur. Property owners in New Jersey are surrounded with several options when it comes to flood damage restoration services. New Jerseyans, however, repeatedly trust ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete with all their flood and storm damage restoration needs.
Flood damage restoration services from ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete include the complete extraction of all moisture from the premises. Once the property and affected possessions are thoroughly dry, our skilled technicians disinfect the area to remove waterborne pathogens and ensure the home is habitable once again.
Our storm damage restoration services start with emergency roof tarping or board ups where necessary to stabilize the property. Roof and siding repairs are performed when these areas show ruin. Cleanup efforts include removing broken tree branches and manmade debris spewed by major storms.
ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete dependably serves the communities of Bergen County, New Jersey. Emergency services are available 24 hours a day. Expect an immediate and professional response from the experienced flood and storm damage restoration technicians at ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete.