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How to Minimize Water Damage in Basements

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    • 1). Install a French drain around the perimeter of your home. The best way to limit the damage from water is to eliminate the water before it can do the damage. Use a backhoe to dig a 5- to 8-foot-deep trench around your home. In the bottom of the trench lay a 4-inch perforated PVC pipe to help carry the water away from your home. Atop the pipe lay 3 to 5 feet of gravel, then cover the gravel with 2 to 3 feet of top soil. These drains work best on a hillside where the water below the surface enters the gravel and flows around the house before continuing down the incline. If properly installed, a drain of this type can help keep a large portion of the subsurface water away from your foundation and out of your basement.

    • 2). Install a sump pump system to remove any unwanted water. If water does enter the basement, it is vitally important to remove it as quickly as possible. A sump pump does this automatically and very efficiently with an electric pump. Excavate a basin or pit approximately 20 inches across and 24 inches deep in the basement floor. Inside the basin, place the sump pump and install a drain line on the pump to carry the water up and out of the basement. In most cases the sump pit will be near a wall or corner and the drain line can be routed straight up and out through the exterior wall. A grate or other cover needs to be placed over the sump pit to prevent anyone from stepping into the pit accidentally.

    • 3). Purchase and install a dehumidifier for the basement. Once the water is removed by the sump pump, the dehumidifier will help lower the humidity level in the room which will promote faster drying. Locate the dehumidifier near a power source. Most dehumidifiers come with collection buckets, but you can also pipe these units to the sump pit which will then remove the water automatically. This is far better than relying on the collection bucket or tray, since you must remember to empty these. Mount the dehumidifier on a raised platform to prevent it from sitting in water and also allow the gravity feed drain line to operate more smoothly.

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