During the winter, you get a bit of a break from all of the summer's heavy rains that saturate your basement repeatedly. Instead of wasting the winter away just waiting for the first sign of spring, it's time to start planning to prevent the water from making its way into your basement this summer. Here, you'll find a few things that you can do now to prepare for the wettest summer that may lie ahead.
Start with the Pipes
Make sure that there aren't any leaking water pipes in your basement. If you don't have exposed pipes, you would do best to hire a pipe repair service to come out and check for leaks. This leak may not be bad enough to flood your basement, but the excess moisture can contribute to the musty, mildew smell.
Tip: If you have city water, you can refer to your bills to look for an increase in usage. If you've noticed that you're using more water than usual, then, you probably have a leak hiding somewhere.
Check the Gutters
Now that all of the leaves have fallen, you can get the gutters cleaned out and they'll stay that way for a while. Wait until you get a nice winter day to get out on the ladder to clean out the gutters. The ground should be solid and not covered with snow. The temperature needs to be warm enough that any water and debris in the gutter will melt so that you can remove it. The winds need to be calm so you don't get blown off of the roof or ladder while you're working.
Inspect the Ground
The ground directly around your home should remain dry for the most part. Of course, when it rains or the snow melts, the soil will be wet, but you should never see puddles of water resting around the foundation of your home.
If you have standing water near the foundation, you will need to do some work moving soil so that the water runs away from the house – you'll need to create a slope.
Install a Sump Pump
If your basement floods frequently, you should give serious consideration to installing a sump pump. These pumps are installed in pits in the floor of your basement. As water fills the pit, the pump pushes the water out of the house.
Waterproof the Basement
If everything appears to be in good condition and you still go through the effort of cleaning up after floods every summer, you'll need to talk with a basement waterproofing expert. There's a reason that all of that water is coming into your basement and until you find out why, you will have to continue dealing with all of this mess.
A French drain may need to be installed, or the problem could be resolved with a little work waterproofing the inside of the basement floor and walls.
You can get rid of the water in your basement for good, but it will take some work. Hopefully, the tips above will make it easier to keep up with the messes that summer can make.