Angie's List: Keeping your home dry

Our homes see a lot of water here in the Northwest. If your home isn't adequately protected, it could cost you a lot of money in the long run. The consumer review website, Angie's List, has some tips to help you be sure that your home is protected from potential water damage.

First, Angie's List recommends checking your homeowner's insurance policy to see if it includes drain and sewer backup coverage. Next, take a walk around and evaluate your property.

Angie Hicks, the website's creator says, "There are simple things you can do around your house to make sure you avoid water problems. Check your roof periodically for leaks. Also, clean your gutters. Check the grade around the foundation of your house to be sure it's grading away from your house. All of these things will prevent potential problems."

Angie's List also asked highly rated plumbing companies for tips to keep your home dry. Here's what they found:

Gutters and Downspouts:

  • The goal of your gutters is to collect rainwater and help direct it away from your house. If they are damaged or clogged, water could overflow during heavy rains and create problems at the foundation. You should check your gutters and downspouts a few minutes after a heavy rain. If you see any water overflowing, you have a problem.
  • Have your gutters cleaned and inspected twice a year to minimize your risk for water damage.
  • Have your gutter system installed correctly with the correct number of downspouts of the correct size, and make sure they are extended at least ten feet from your house and away from your foundation.
  • A gutter or roofing professional can inspect your roof for signs of potential leakage issues like damaged shingles, popped nails or cracked rubber seals.

Landscape and Foundation:

  • The landscape around your home can have a major impact on whether or not water will cause damage. Design your landscaping grade so that water slopes away from your home's exterior, rather than towards it.
  • Take a walk around your home and look for cracks and holes in your foundation and walls. Seal them if necessary.

Sump Pumps:

  • A sump pump protects a home's crawlspace or basement from water filtration from the outside. They usually run on electricity, so installing a battery or water-powered backup can help protect your home from flood damage should you experience a power outage in a storm.
  • Be sure your sump pump pit is clean of debris. Test the pump's operation on a monthly basis by manually pulling the float up to engage the motor. Another way to test it is to fill the sump pit with water and go outside to make sure the pump is actually discharging water. You can eliminate any build-up in the system by periodically pouring white vinegar through the unit.
  • Check your homeowner's insurance coverage to ensure it includes a sump pump failure clause.