Illustration for article titled How to Prevent Your Basement from Flooding When Snow and Ice Start to MeltPhoto: cunaplus (Shutterstock)

In the past few weeks, many parts of the country have seen serious winter weather – including areas where this type of snow and ice is not normally seen. And finally, the snow and ice will melt, creating more water than usual, and some homes can’t handle it. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to prevent water from getting into your home and flooding your basement. Here’s what to know.

Illustration for article titled How to Prevent Your Basement from Flooding When Snow and Ice Start to Melt

How can snow cause cellar floods?

You may not associate flooding with snow, but there are times when the weather warms up quickly.

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Melting snow basement floods are caused when snow collects around the foundation of your home or property in winter and melts as the temperature warms. Combined with spring rainfall, this buildup of water can get into the ground and seep into the groundwater, causing flooding in your basement. This won’t be the case with every property – it depends on whether your foundation passes a “stress test”. If the foundation is susceptible to groundwater ingress, the chances of having water in your basement increase.

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This is how you prevent your basement from being flooded in winter

The best way to protect your basement from flooding is to shovel the snow at least three feet away from the foundation before it can melt. Here are some other tips, courtesy of On-site restoration::

  • If your home is on an incline or hill, shovel snow so it doesn’t roll towards your home when it melts. This ensures that melting snow will flow away from, and not into, your home.
  • Remove snow from your roof to avoid excessive buildup. This will prevent a significant amount of water from flowing through your gutters during thawing.
  • Keep the drainage areas around your home free of snow and ice. This ensures that melting snow drains properly and prevents backups.
  • Examine the basement walls for cracks. This also includes sealing around windows. Make the necessary repairs to prevent water from entering your basement.
  • Review your landscape before the snow arrives to make sure the ground is sloping away from your home. If necessary, add additional soil to allow the melting snow to drain off your foundation.
  • Check your roof for ice and snow build-up. This can cause ice damage that can allow melting snow to seep through your roof.
  • Check your gutters and downspouts. In the fall, remove leaves and other debris regularly as this can cause clogging. Add downspout extensions to draw melting snow away from your home.
  • Test your sump pump in the winter to make sure it works properly when the snow melts. Pour a bucket of water into the sump to turn on the pump. If it does not turn on, unplug the power cord from the outlet and investigate the problem.

If water ends up in your basement, don’t ignore it. Keep the area where the water got as clean and dry as possible.