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Warmer temps, rain lead to flooding concerns: Here’s how to keep your home dry

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Warming temperatures and rainy weather are leading to concerns about basement flooding, an annual problem for homeowners as spring approaches and snow melts.

Flooding can cause thousands of dollars in damage, but experts remind us there are steps you can take to keep your home dry.

Mike Hearn, of Mentor, knows the cost of flooding firsthand, and he has taken steps to prevent it from happening again. Flooding in 2006 left three feet of water in his basement, ruining appliances and leaving behind a muddy mess.

“I won't tell you what my first words are when I walked down the steps, but it's like you're looking and seeing stuff floating already, and you realize you're going to lose appliances,” he said. “It was really frustrating.”

Since then, Hearn has had a sump pump with a water-powered back-up installed. He also added a back water valve, which keeps storm sewer water from backing up from the street into his basement.

Experts suggest if you have a sump pump, make sure it is in working order.

“This is the time to do it, because it's only going to get worse,” said H. Jack’s Plumbing & Heating Co. Vice President Patrick Kotek. “The snow's going to melt, we'll have our spring rains. That's when we have a lot of our flooding.”

Outside your home, Kotek said to make sure gutters and downspouts are clear of debris.

Also, keep snow piles away from basement windows and consider using a roof rake to remove snow, to prevent leaks.

If you know where storm sewer grates are located near your property, try to clear them of snow and ice, so water doesn’t back up.

Kotek said it’s better to take preventive steps now, rather than deal with damaging floods.

“It’s never too late,” he said, adding there are resources that can help. “Call a qualified contractor. They can come out and inspect your drains.”