Spring is one of the most wonderful times of the year. The weather turns nice. The days grow longer, and the flowers start to bloom.
Spring can also bring heavy rains, though, which means flooding for some low-lying areas. Is there anything you can do to avoid this potentially damaging phenomenon? There is. Here’s a look at some of the common causes of spring flooding, as well as ways you can prevent flood problems at your home.
The Causes of Spring Flooding
Flooding in the spring can occur for any number of reasons, but the main ones include:
- Thawing: In many areas, ice and snow melt as the weather warms up, which can lead to a flow of water from high-altitude areas to low-altitude areas. Depending on the amount of snow and ice that melts and the rate at which it melts, flooding is always a risk.
- Rain: Spring brings heavy rains, and all of that water has to go somewhere. When there’s too much rain all at once, drainage systems get backed up, causing creeks, rivers and other bodies of water to rise. If you live in a low-lying area near a creek or another body of water, you’re at risk for flooding.
- Failing or Inadequate Infrastructure: Even when drainage systems are working properly, sometimes infrastructure lets us down. Flooding can occur due to aging dams or infrastructure that fails or that simply wasn’t designed to handle the amount of water a rainstorm brings.
Tips to Avoid Spring Flooding in Your Home
You’re not helpless when it comes to flooding. You can take certain measures that help avoid flooding and the risks related to it, including:
- Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts: It’s not a task that homeowners look forward to, but removing leaves, dirt and other debris that gathers in your gutters throughout the year will let spring rains flow off your roof and away from your house — which prevents flooding in your attic and foundation.
- Keep Your Snow Piles at a Distance: If you’ve received a lot of snow over the past few months or weeks, you probably have several piles around your property. As they’ll melt with the warmer temperatures, make sure they’re a reasonable distance away — about three to five feet — from your home.
- Check Your Foundation for Cracks: Over time, your home’s foundation may have developed some minor cracks, which are an entryway for water. Take a day and walk around your house, looking for cracks with a flashlight. If you find some and they’re minor, use a concrete patch — or call a professional.
- Install Window Wells: For homes with below-ground rooms that feature windows, you’ll want a window well to avoid flooding in the spring. They’ll stop rain, as well as melting snow, from entering your home and causing trouble in your basement.
- Test Your Sump Pump: If your home includes a basement, you should have an installed or portable sump pump. Even if you’ve taken the above steps to decrease your chance of flooding, a sump pump helps if you do find water in your basement. Pick a day and test it, making sure you’re ready for anything.
Flooding in spring is often unavoidable, and it can leave plenty of damage in its wake — but don’t let flooding sneak up on you. If you fail to create a plan, and certainly if you fail to secure flood insurance, you’re making things far more difficult than they need to be. Take the measures needed before spring swings into action and remember that a flood insurance premium costs far less than restoring your home after a flood.