Flooded basements are a common problem in Colorado, especially if the house is located in the drainage path for sloping terrain. Two of the biggest culprits are rapid snowmelt in the springtime and heavy rains throughout the year. Aside from being damaging and messy, a flooded basement can lead to serious health hazards from contaminated water. Follow these common sense tips to protect your basement from flooding during heavy, steady rainfall.

Clean and Maintain Gutters

Gutters play a crucial role in flood prevention by diverting rainwater away from the home. Ideally, however, you should extend your downspouts outward by at least 6 feet. If your gutters aren’t doing their job, the water can just filter down into the foundation and find its way to the basement. Make a habit of inspecting gutters for leaks, and clear any accumulated leaves or debris that can block the water’s path. Standing on a ladder, use a garden trowel to scoop out the more substantial pieces of garbage and collect them in a bag or bucket. Use a hose to flush out any remaining dirt or debris. Let it run for a few minutes while you also search for leaks.

Waterproofing

Any cracks present in the foundation or walls should be sealed thoroughly for the basement to be adequately protected from flooding. It doesn’t take much more than a tiny opening for a substantial amount of water to be able to seep in during heavy rains. According to Sanitred, basement floors and walls need to be sealed from the inside, not the outside, in order to be effectively waterproofed. There are several practical materials for sealing cracks, including caulk, hydraulic cement, and grout. You should also waterproof windows and repair any defects that appear around pipes that penetrate the concrete.

Install a Sump Pump

During the heaviest rains, a sump pump is the most reliable solution for avoiding a flooded basement. By acting as a mechanized floor drain, a sump pump will remove any excess water that accumulates in the basement. Severe rains will often come with power outages, which is why it’s ideal to also have a backup sump pump. The backup is generally battery-operated and can kick in once the primary unit fails to function. This solution will require installation from a plumbing professional, but it offers good protection against expensive flood damage. Heavy Colorado rains require a careful approach to avoid the hassle and stress of a flooded basement. As is the case with most home maintenance issues, prevention is key.