Learn about French drains and sump pumps before the next big rainstorm

From strong winds to even two tornadoes, the D.C. region has seen some rough weather over the past week.

It’s conditions like that can lead to serious problems for your home, and all the more reason you should prepare for the possibility — or know how to respond if it does suffer damage.

“When you have storms as intense as we did three days ago, homes may also have developed water intrusion where there was none before,” said Eldad Moraru, with Your Personal Realtor at Compass Realty.

He said that includes homes that don’t have a history of water issues in lower levels of the home. At one house up for sale, Moraru said the owner saw water get into the basement, and it forced them to hire teams to clean up the damage and replace the carpet.

“Water can really be an issue,” Moraru said.

He said if water gets into your home, the clock starts ticking, and it’s a race against the clock to get the area dry.

The water can soak into everything, from the drywall to the carpet, especially the padding underneath the carpet which Moraru said many times cannot be saved.

“[The padding’s] gonna soak up all the water, and it’s gonna be incredibly hard to get dry and that’s just a perfect breeding ground for mold,” Moraru said.

He recommends hiring professionals to dry the room out, but for those who want to do it themselves, they should start by using squeegees and a wet vac to get all the water removed. Industrial-size fans should be brought in to dry the area afterward.

Moraru said, if you haven’t already, there are ways to better protect your home from water issues. One way involves inspecting the property by making sure it is set up to where stormwater moves away from your home.

Correcting issues may include getting a landscaper to make sure your yard has proper grading, looking at installing a French drain and getting gutters cleaned or down spouts fixed or adjusted.

“I’ve seen many times when downspouts don’t have that diverter at the bottom and water is essentially coming right down by the foundation, and that’s not good,” Moraru said.

In some cases you can’t stop the water from gathering at your home, so in those situations Moraru said sump pumps can be installed in basements. The devices constantly pump the water that collects away from your home. He also strongly recommends you install one that has a battery backup.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen where people have a sump pump, they don’t have the battery back up, and if we lose power you essentially have zero protection,” he said.

Moraru also recommends that if strong storms hit and you’re out of town, have someone check on it after the storm moves through.

“I would recommend that you have a neighbor with a key, so that if a storm hits, they can go into your house and make sure there are no issues with your basement,” he said.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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