Avoid Damage Caused by Winter's Bounty

Winter Flooding Prevention Series Introduction Header

While most people associate basement flooding with heavy rains, flooding can actually occur year-round. Leaks or burst pipes are common during the winter months, thanks to an accumulation of moisture. When you're checking your weatherproofing to-do list this winter, be sure to check it twice for these helpful tips to avoid unexpected winter flooding.

Mind the Gap

A build-up of snow and ice around your home's perimeter is a common cause of winter flooding. As the precipitation begins to melt, the frozen ground cannot absorb the excess moisture causing it to reroute through small cracks in your foundation. To prevent damage caused by leaks in a weakened foundation, clear snow away from the perimeter of your home and inspect your foundation for cracks that may also occur with the temperature fluctuations.

Winterize Plumbing  

While you begin bundling up for the winter, consider the items in your home that may also need a layer of protection, such as exposed pipes in the basement and under sinks. Cool winter air causes freezing, which may cause pipes to crack or burst. Broken pipes lead to high cleanup costs, so take the time to enclose your pipes in sleeves or newspapers to provide them with a defense against the cold. 

Check the Sump Pump

It's easy to overlook this major home protector.  Yet, your sump pump is a major line of defense against water accumulation and flooding throughout the year. Take care to ensure that your sump pump is in proper working order, not just at the beginning of the winter season but also periodically throughout the year. A functional sump pump is necessary to eliminate excess water built up around your foundation.

Complete the following steps when checking your sump pump:

  • Ensure your sump basin is clear of debris that may interfere with proper switch operation and water flow into the pump. 
  • Check discharge piping for cracks and note that all connections are tight and in good shape. 
  • Cycle your system by pouring a few buckets of water into the basin and observing that the pump and check valve are both functioning as intended with no leaks.
  • Confirm that high water alarms and other sump systems are functioning correctly and maintained per the owner's manual recommendations.

Consider a Sump Pump Upgrade

Some areas are more susceptible to flooding. Evaluate the risk in your area by considering the following:

  • Is your sump pump typically active during heavy rainfall?
  • Does your home experience power outages throughout the year?
  • Do you store valuable items in your basement?

If you've answered yes to any or all the questions above, having a battery backup system acts as a secondary sump pump for flood protection and emergency dewatering. These systems provide added peace of mind to avoid costly repairs during inclement weather and power loss.

Eliminate Barriers

A build-up of snow or debris on your roof and in gutters presents another risk during the winter months. If water cannot correctly drain down and away from your foundation, it may get into your basement. Ensure that your gutters are cleaned adequately following the fall season; remove heavy snow build-up from your roof if necessary.

Be Prepared

When all else fails and disaster strikes, be prepared for all seasons by having the right tools on hand. Utility pumps transfer water from one location to another, including dewatering your basement. Utility pumps are handy in various other applications, such as removing water from a kiddie pool, draining a ditch, or emptying a plugged sink or drain.

Stock up on what you need to prevent damage this winter. Whether you've just recovered from a flood or are at risk of flooding, these products from Little Giant will help you keep your basement dry and give you peace of mind this Holiday season:     

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