Fall Season Basement Preparation
OK Class, time to please pay close attention. The vast majority of water seepage tips that we encourage everyone to check in the Spring Thaw Season, is pretty much the same in the Fall Season Basement Preparation. First and foremost, be sure to check that your sump pump is working properly. This is an imperative if you are depending on your pump to free your exterior and interior drainage system that is erradicating seepage from in and around your structure. Should your sump pump and battery back-up system fail, grab the buckets and start extracating your water buildup manually. Just kidding, but you get the drift. Sump Pumps have to be working.
If in doubt, simply pour a bucket or two of water into the pump pit and see how the pump cycles. Be sure your pump is plugged in. Also, be sure your check valve and discharge pipe are functioning properly. Unsure of yourself and your abilities to verify a proper functioning pump system? No problem. Simply call our home office and ask to schedule your regular sump pump maintenance. We suggest twice a year, … early early spring and early fall. The cost of doing such will save your peace of mind.
Back to the check list. So we have checked the pump. Checked the check valve, this keeps water from re-entering your pit. Checked the discharge line for obstructions. Now we need to be sure to check any battery back-up system you might have. For those that do not have a battery back-up, this is simply a power supply system attached to the sump-pump setup, that powers your pump(s), in the event of your structures power failing for a shortened period of time. Notice my first mentions of pump(s) plural. Many structures do have more than one pump. Even some pump pits have a submersible and standing pump joined for an even more substantial basement pumping system. In the event of mutiple pumps in your system, you should check them all.
‘Nuisance Water Seepage in Basements’
Continuing on. Now that we have verified the mechanical end of your basement waterproofing systems are working, we need to do some exterior site inspections that can create what many call ‘Nuisance Water Seepage‘. Nuisance Water Seepage has been around in basements and crawl spaces since the beginning of time. Left unchecked these small water seepage nuisances can create extraordinary problems. The good news is that the majority of these exterior seepage areas in question can be addressed very easily and fairly quickly. So, lets do the short list.
Window Wells. Yes, window wells. They can retain water and easily cause issues, especially once the ice begins. Clean your wells out of all leaves and debris. Make sure in the early fall that they are still draining properly. (Simply pour a couple of buckets of water into your well – first be sure your window seals are tight.) Finally, check the sealants around the windows on the exterior to be sure that water cannot seep inside. We have actually seen window wells look more like aquariums than drainage devices surrounding windows. If you should find fish swimming in your window wells, chances are you have multiple issues.
Gutter and Downspouts. Fall the dreaded gutter time of year! Leaves and tree branches falling into your structures number one system for removing exterior excess water through an efficient above ground water drainage system – your gutter and downspouts. Depending on your roof area and gutter and downspout’s size, this drainage system is cabable of removing hundreds if not thousands of gallons annually from around your dwelling’s footprint. Be sure throughout the fall season that your gutters and downspouts are clean, sealed well and properly discharging water down the downspouts. Especially make sure that these downspouts are dispercing the gutter’s water as far away from the structure as possible. Sadly, only some extra elbow grease can be used on undergrownd drainage systems. There are various methods for removing debris from underground drainage systems. We have seen owners actually using a wet-dry vac to suction out debris. Also, utilizing cleaning rods work too! Flooding the underground system only aggravates the problem. In short, the debris and gunk has to be removed for proper drainage for your downspouts and gutters. (As a cautionary note, do not use a forceful auger that could rupture your drain tiles. Replacement is too expensive.)
Exterior Foundation Drainage Slope. Years ago it came to our attention that many homeowners thought that the majority of their water seepage problems existed because of the slope of the land or landscape around their structure’s foundation. Although this creates ‘Nuisance Seepage‘, in the majority of instances it does not create massive seepage in a basement or crawl space. The remedy to slope fade or foundational slope errosion or more commonly known as improper slope grade for drainage is quite simple. The desired result is simply that water or excess water run-off does not pond or gather around the foundation. To acheive this desired slope grade for foundational water run-off, we simply build up the soil around the foundation so it properly runs off. Be sure to pack it down or tamp-it to ensure that it does not wash away. It might take some investigation after heavy rains to ensure a proper slope, but again, with some elbow grease a very easy fix. Once the proper grade is acheived, a little grass or landscape enhancement ensures long-term results.
Improper Adjacent Concrete Slopes. Every seen it. Bet you have. The concrete sidewalk after years of errosion now slopes toward the structures foundation. The slope should move moisure away from the foundation, not towards it. Same way with the driveway or patio slope. They must direct and channel water away from the foundation. These improper sloping elements can cause severe long-term effects on your structure. One effect is exessive water seepage into the crawlspace or basement. Left unattended over time, simply means excessive costs for proper repair. So, contact us early to investigate a sensisble solution for you. Left unattended, added pressure and water seepage can compromise the soundness of both basement concrete and block wall construction. Resulting in deteriorating wall stabilization.
Hopefully these tips have given you some insight into your possible Fall Basement Preparations. Done correctly, they will save you thousands of dollars and countless hours of lost time from your structure experiencing the devastating results from excessive water seepage in a crawlspace or basement. As always, contact us anytime we can be of further assistance. As mothers always said, “An once of prevention – goes a long way”!