floodHome floods happened more often than people realize. Many documents that are kept in the basement end up getting destroyed because of flooding. The best prevention is to keep important documents in a safe deposit box. Here are some tips to keep your house from flooding:

Exterior of Your Home:

Ensure the ground slopes away from your home on all sides including patios and driveways.

If grade cannot easily be altered, consider installing swales, berms or drains on the upslope side of your home that will capture and divert surface and ground water away from your foundation.

Annually clean and inspect gutters and downspouts and ensure downspouts extend at least 6 feet away from the foundation, preferably onto a splash pad.

Ensure basement window wells and doors have watertight seals and that window wells remain clear of debris and leaf litter that could block drains.

Look for cracks in your foundation wall and have a contractor professionally seal or repair any that might allow moisture to penetrate in to your basement.

If you are in an area with a high water table consider flood-proofing your basement by sealing the exterior surface or installing footing drains.

Interior of Your Home:

Install, maintain and service sump pumps annually & ensure all pump discharges are clear and downslope from the home. Having multiple pumps is preferable to relying on a single pump.

Consider a back-up power supply such as a battery back-up or generator, so your pump will continue to operate during power outages commonly associated with severe weather events.

Consider installing a high water alarm on your sump pump that will notify you and your alarm company if the pump fails to keep pace with rising water, before it reaches finished surfaces.

Elevate all valuable contents in your basement above the floor level.


  • 1 in 3 homes built in the US has a basement (National Association of Home Builders).
  • 60% of Basements are wet – American Society of Home Inspectors.
  • In the past 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods (www.FloodSmart.gov).
  • Total Flood insurance claims averaged nearly $4BN/Year between 2003-2012 (www.FloodSmart.gov).
  • Just a few inches of water inside a home can cause tens of thousands of dollars in losses.
  • Causes of basement flooding commonly include: fast melting snow; heavy rainfall and severe or prolonged storms.