Is your basement ready for Hurricane Joaquin?

Posted at 10:50 AM, Oct 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-01 10:50:28-04

As Hurricane Joaquin gains strength and heads toward the Mid-Atlantic, residents throughout Baltimore are preparing their homes for heavy rain and possible flooding.

RELATED: Hurricane Joaquin to affect Maryland

A big concern for homeowners is waterproofing their basements. During periods of heavy rain and flash flooding, the likelihood of water leaking into and flooding basements dramatically increases.

If you have a sump pump installed, be sure that it is clean and clear of debris so it will function properly. In many cases, sump pumps fail as the result of an obstruction or lack of water says Rob Keiser, Vice President at Most, Inc.

“Most sump pumps last a really long time. If they do die, it’s usually because of an obstruction or debris or because it hasn’t been used in a while and there’s no water in it,” he said.

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When cleaning and maintaining your sump pump be sure you follow these tips:

• Clean in and around the sump, including the sidewall and pump inlet screen
• Be sure that the pump discharge is flowing away from the home
• Check that the power cord is plugged in and receiving power
• Check that the battery backup is functioning
• Dump a bucket of water into the sump to test the pump and ensure that water can flow

In addition, make sure that gutters and downspouts are clear. Direct the downspout away from the house so that it does not overflow the sump pump.

See also: Find more Hurricane Joaquin coverage here

With all of the rain the area has received over the past couple of days, residents should know if their sump pump is working properly.

“Most people have probably had a good test with all of the rain we’ve had,” says Keiser. “I’m sure most people know if it’s working or not.”

With the scope of the storm still uncertain, there’s a chance that your sump pump could overflow or fail due to power outage. If the power fails, you can use a generator to supply power to the sump pump. If that’s not an option get a bucket or shop vacuum ready. Gather buckets full of water and dump into a sink until the sump pump is functioning again.

As long as your sump pump is clean and checked, you should be prepared for this storm.

“Sump pumps can last years,” says Keiser. “It depends on how often they run. If you check it and it runs, you should be good to go.”

If your basement does flood or retain standing water during the storm, be sure to thoroughly dry the area to prevent mold growth. Use a dehumidifier and fans to circulate air and dry floors.

The bottom line is take the time to check your sump pump, if it’s is clean and clear, you should have a waterproof basement in spite of Hurricane Joaquin.