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Flooded Basement From Snowmelt

We don’t need to remind you of this, but winters can be brutal in Boston. Weather affects our lives in many ways, and when it comes to harsh winter storms, that effect is typically negative. While cold weather can cause a lot of problems for your home, nothing can cause as much wide spread basement flooding as snow melts.


Why does my basement flood when snow melts?


snow-buildup-homeThe reason is simple: your concrete foundation is porous and allows water to travel through it. That means, you can have a foundation with no cracks and still get water in your basement.  If you saw water pooling up against your foundation, hopefully alarm bells would be going off in your head and you would realize you’ve got a problem. And when it comes to snow piling up to your foundation, you’ve got just as big of a problem, if not bigger.

Generally speaking, 1 cubic foot of snow when melted produces about 3/4 of a gallon of water. So let’s assume a storm dumps 3 feet of snow and that your house measures 30 feet wide and 50 feet deep. That is 480 cubic feet of snow that when melted will produce 360 gallons of water. That water must go somewhere, and a lot of it is going to find its way into your basement.


What should I do if I have water in my basement?


Many people assume a couple inches of water in their basement is no big deal. Most simply mop up the water and assume they’re safe. Unfortunately, they haven’t addressed the moisture problem and probably won’t ever address the actual reasons for the moisture entering the basement in the first place.

wet-basement-air-moversWhen it comes to any amount of moisture in your home, we always suggest you call a professional Boston water restoration company. The reason is simple: only a certified water mitigation professional can ensure that the excess moisture in your basement is fully removed without causing secondary water damage. Properly drying out a structure requires extensive training and advanced equipment. While you may think you know exactly what is wet, the reality is the naked eye can’t detect moisture. We use sophisticated moisture meters and infrared cameras to identify where the water has traveled so that we know what must be dried. And once any standing water is removed, the process of drying out your basement requires additional equipment and trained personnel. It’s not as simple as you think, but unfortunately too many people are under the impression it is and they pay dearly for it later…


black-mold-wet-basementWhy is the drying process so important? Most people assume that they can just open a window or put a fan down in their basement and that the moisture will magically disappear. Unfortunately, most times that doesn’t work. And if it doesn’t work, and your basement is not returned to its dry standard, eventually you are going to end up with dangerous levels of black mold. Toxic mold spores are not only dangerous to your health, the cost of remediating the damage and fully removing the spores is incredibly expensive. In fact, the cost of drying out a wet basement caused by snow melt pails in comparison to mitigating mold damage in a basement.


How can I prevent a flooded basement from snow melt?


There are 3 main things you can do to prevent your Boston property from suffering a basement flood due to snow melt:


boston-blizzard1) Remove any snow piling up against your home. This should be obvious, but most people choose to clear their driveway and walkway while neglecting the remaining snow piled up next to their foundation. If possible, clear any snow within 5 feet of your foundation so that you give your home a little space from the impending snow melt. It’s also important to make sure that your yard slopes away from your house, such that the remaining snow will melt and funnel to the street and not towards your home.


2) Make sure you have a solid sump pump. A vital system to have if you live in Boston and have a basement, a sump pump represents your last line of defense against a basement flood. Test your sump pump during dry periods once every 6 months or so to make sure it’s good to go when you need it most, and also make sure you have an additional power source should you lose electricity for whatever reason. While battery packs can work, they lose power after a few hours so we would suggest having a generator installed, especially if your basement is finished.


cracked-basement-wall-leaks3) Fix any foundation cracks you might have. If you can see visible cracks in your basement walls, it’s a good idea to seal those. You can buy epoxies or crack sealant kits at your local hardware store for cheap. Those cracks represent the path of least resistance for water and can let a surprising amount of snow melt into your basement in a short period! If the cracks are serious enough, you may consider hiring a basement waterproofing company to come in and fully seal off your basement from water incursions. This is especially true if you plan on finishing out the basement.


Has snow melt entered your basement? Call us for a free quote!


If the melting snow has resulted in standing water in your basement, we would be happy to provide you with a free estimate to extract the water and dry out your basement completely so you don’t get mold. The estimating process is easy and very straightforward, and our project coordinator will walk you through the damage and what he recommends that needs to be done to fix it. We always use industry-standard pricing and estimate our water damage restoration services using Xactimate. To see what that means for you as a customer, watch the video below:

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