Outside Your Home
1. Clear Ice and Snow Away from Your House. Any snow packed up against the side of your house or covering your drains will seep right into the ground around your foundation. Shovel the know away from your house so that thawed snow will drain away from your home.
2. Check the drainage around your house. Make sure melting snow has a clear path to flow off your property and remove any obstructions.
3. Clear your windows, roof, gutters and downspouts. Carefully remove snow load from eaves and roofs with a roof rake to prevent ice damming. If ice dams have formed, safely remove them or have them removed by professionals. You will want to have the roof inspected as soon as possible to ensure there has been no damage to the membrane for water to seep in. Clear out window wells to remove any snow, dirt, leaves and other debris to prevent leaks through windows. Your gutters may not be catching leaves like they would in the fall, but ice and snow can build up during the winter.
4. Check the Grading Around Your House. The freeze-thaw cycle can impact the ground on your property. You should make sure that any meltwater from snow piles will naturally flow away from your home thanks to the slope of your yard.
If your yard isn’t graded so water will flow away from your basement, you may have to look into re-grading your lawn by adding more topsoil and raking it into your low points. You can talk to a landscaping professional for more information.
Inside Your House
1. Install water alarms. Install water alarms and flood sensors if your home is prone to flooding. These devices are designed to send an alert when they detect unwanted water in the home. This can help you catch floods quickly before they do too much damage, particularly if you own a vacation home.
2. Ensure Your Sump Pump is Working. Your sump pump is your first line of defense against a flooded basement, so one of the most important steps to take when preparing your home for spring is to make sure your sump pump is working. If you don’t have one, consider contacting a qualified plumber at Sakin Home to have a sump pit and pump installed. We highly recommend that you get a sump pump with a battery backup as well.
3. Make Sure You Have a Backwater Valve. Backwater (Check) valves enable one-way flow from your home’s sewer line and are the key to protecting your basement from a gross sewer backup. A backwater valve works automatically: as soon as it detects backflow, it closes up. Check the backwater valve and clean out any debris to ensure effective operation and protection. Keep in mind that this won’t protect your home from backflow caused by a blockage inside your home (for example, if you have a clogged sink).
4. Move your valuables. Don’t keep valuables beneath the flood level line. Important documents and electronics should be moved to the highest level of the home and kept off the floor to prevent any water damage. Keep birth certificates, insurance policies, and other important documents in a waterproof and fireproof safety box. If you can’t move items from the basement, raise them off the ground with pallets or store items on shelves.
5. Unplug All Appliances That Could Come in Contact with Water. Many people have a freezer or laundry machines in the basement. If possible, it’s a good idea to remove appliances from the area at risk of flooding. If it’s not possible, you can put them on cement blocks to elevate them. When not in use (or if there’s a flood or rain warning,) these appliances should be unplugged. Electrically charged water is incredibly dangerous!
6. Inspect your basement. Check floor drains in your basement to make sure they are unobstructed and working properly. Have the basement foundation inspected for cracks and make any necessary repairs to prevent water from entering the home.
7. Check Your Attic or Ceilings. In New Hampshire, snow builds up on roofs over the course of a winter. While structurally they can handle it, the spring thaw brings with it the risk of a leak. You should always keep an eye on your attic and the ceiling of your top floor, as a small leak can quickly become a huge problem.
8. Double Check Your Insurance Coverage. Spring is a great time to re-familiarize yourself with your home’s insurance coverage when it comes to flooding.
9. Have an Emergency Kit. An emergency kit is a must for many situations, and a flood is no exception. If there is a flood warning in effect, make sure to have the following things on hand.
- Food that doesn’t have to be cooked in case the power goes out
- Pet food
- Extra water
- A flashlight with extra batteries
- A fully charged battery pack for your phone
- Basic toiletries like toilet paper, toothbrushes and toothpaste
- Essential medications
- A First-Aid kit
- Any important documents.
- Extra clothing
- Your keys
- Emergency numbers for fire and health services, roofers, and plumbers.