Flooding Fixes: Cheap Tricks Could Keep Basement Dry

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Homeowners don’t have to live in a flood zone to wake up to water in the basement.

A few cheap and easy fixes may help in keeping the lower level dry.

— One move that comes highly recommended by plumbing professionals is the use of a rubber drain plug; the cost is between $5 and $10. Shower drains should also be plugged along with laundry tubs.

Plugs will not work in toilets, however. One insurance company recommended pushing a string mop into the area of the bowl where the water exits. It’s s not a perfect fix but may prevent water from overflowing the commode.

— To prevent a sump pump from failing, check to ensure it actually works.

Plumber Marvin Cox from Sandy Plumbing recommends homeowners lift their pump’s float and listen for the sound of the sump kicking on. A second sump pump should be tested to ensure the battery backup is fully charged.

— Another important step in preventing water from seeping through the basement walls is to direct downspouts away from the foundation.

Certified Mold Inspector Frank Bauck from Ohio State Waterproofing recommends extending downspouts five feet from the house if a lawn is sharply sloped and 10 feet if the property is flat.

Extenders can be purchased at any home improvement store for less than $20 and easily installed with a couple of screws.

Basement water is sometimes full of raw sewage and electrical current. Cox warned homeowners not to touch the water until the power has been shut off to the sump pump.

He said if the water is deep enough, it may trip circuit breakers and prevent electric shock. Otherwise, he said homeowners can put on rubber boots and unplug the sump pump themselves.

— Public health officials warn homeowners against letting contaminated water touch the skin. Sewer water plays host to more than 100 varieties of germs and can cause severe illness.

— Once water has been pumped from a flooded basement, it’s time to clean up. Experts suggest all salvageable items be cleaned with a disinfectant as opposed to bleach, which may not kill all germs. That includes clothing and shoes worn during clean-up.

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