Spring has sprung. Has a leak?

That icy chill in the air melting into a warm spring day is usually more than welcome as winter wanes. But after a long winter, your home might need a little TLC. From basement floods to leaky roofs to malfunctioning (or non-existent) sump pumps, those April showers can wreak some serious havoc if you're not proactive.

A seasonal checklist to keep your home flood-free

Where to start? Ideally, before there’s a problem. Here’s a quick to-do list:

Put your snow shovel to work. It’s a good idea to move snow away from the foundation of your home. Pushing accumulated precipitation 3 to 5 feet away from the structure may help reduce the risk of a wet basement due to snow melt.

Consider a sump pump. An upright (pedestal) or submersible sump pump that’s been properly maintained can be your home’s first line of defense against basement flooding. Inspect and clean any existing pump and test it by pouring water into the pit. The discharge hose should carry the water several feet away from the house to a well-drained area.

Check and maintain your downspouts and gutters. Just like the discharge hose on a sump pump, a downspout’s job is to carry accumulated water several feet away to a well-drained area. Check your spouts and gutters regularly for debris clogs and damage.

Watch your window wells. The perimeter of windows should be tightly caulked and sealed to prevent any kind of water entry. All entry points need to be inspected to prevent water from flowing through them, and don’t forget to check for cracks in the wall or floor where water could seep in. As usual, it’s a good idea to hire a professional for the job.

Regard the roof. It's worth the time to take a look at the condition of your roof before spring rains start. Look for damaged or missing shingles or tiles, and for cracks in the sealent around flashing, roof-mounted hardware, skylights, and vents.

Speaking of vents, if your venting system has been damaged by hail or blocked by debris, you could be be at risk for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 400 Americans die from CO poisoning and more than 4,000 hospitalized due to CO-related illness every year. Have your roof inspected every year, and if it needs to be repaired, find an experienced contractor who understands venting systems. 

Foster the foundation. To prevent basement and garage flooding next spring, place soil around your home’s foundation this summer. Properly grading the soil will help to divert water from the foundation.

Should a weather-related or seasonal catastrophe happen to your home, make sure safety and peace of mind is on speed dial. Talk to a Grinnell Mutual agent today.