Flood prevention is an essential part of managing a rental property as damage from flooding can lead to expensive repairs and loss of income. The weather can often be unpredictable, but the path of flooding from natural events can be anticipated as most floods occur in subterranean areas like basements or basement apartments. Here are a few tips to help prevent flooding in your rental property.
Exterior Drain Maintenance
Keeping your exterior drainage systems in excellent working order will go a long way to prevent basement floods and water damage. Advanced drain systems work to move water away from the property and into drainage systems. Start by scheduling regular gutter cleaning for the property to ensure all gutters are clear of debris. Ideally, gutters should be thoroughly cleaned at least twice per year and inspected after any major storm event to ensure they are still angled downward and providing proper drainage.
Next up are the downspouts which should be tightly connected to the gutters and utilize elbows that are pitched away from the property. Downspouts should be secured and anchored to prevent them from separating or breaking during storms. If the ends are not routed to a drainage system, they must be long enough to carry water away from the building to prevent pooling at the foundation.
Lastly, exterior drains should be checked regularly to ensure each is clear of trash and debris. Trim away vegetation to keep a clear path for water and consider scheduling a plumber to snake outdoor drains every few years. Have them remove collected trash or vegetation that could lead to a clog or interference with your sewage system.
Sump Pump Systems
For starters, if your property was built without a sump pump and the basement floods during heavy rain, then it would be wise to have a plumber install a system. A sump pump works as part of a basement drain system whose purpose is to keep the perimeter and the area under a building dry and prevent flooding. In most cases, sump pumps are installed into a special pit that collects water via drains and then pumps that water away from the building. Many flood and drain systems that include a sump pump are tied into exterior pipes to facilitate the movement of water—another reason to make sure your basement flood prevention plan always includes keeping exterior drains clean!
Whether your property has an existing sump pump or you’re considering having one installed, a battery backup is a must. Flood prevention systems are only useful when they are operational, and you don’t want your sump pit to fill up and overflow into the basement in the event of a power outage. A battery backup for sump pumps will kick in if the property loses power—something that’s more likely to happen during the worst of storms.
French Drain Systems
For properties that are precariously placed at the bottom of a hill or other high-risk areas, home flood prevention systems must be a little more robust to make sure water is sufficiently removed. French drains are ideal for single-family or small multi-family homes that need extra protection from flooding. To install these systems, a trench is dug around the perimeter of the property, and a perforated pipe is placed in the trenches to collect water. The trench is filled with gravel to create a porous structure for rainwater to easily flow to the pipe below.
Most basement French drain systems are constructed on the exterior of the building in this fashion, but interior French drain systems can be helpful for basements with recurring water problems. An interior system uses a perforated pipe placed in a channel around the perimeter of the basement floor, similar to an exterior trench. These systems collect water as it enters your basement, making them a reliable method to keep basements dry during heavy rain events. Water is then routed to a collection tank, and a sump pump is used to pump the water away from the home or into exterior drainage systems.
Interior French drain systems can be tricky to retrofit, especially if the basement is finished. It can be difficult to install because interior walls typically need to be removed to put the system in. However, if intruding water is perpetually causing problems for you or your tenants, it might be the best option to secure the area for the future.
Home Flood Prevention Systems
Whether you stick with basic flood prevention products such as gutters and downspouts or your property requires a more advanced flood prevention system to keep the basement dry, every property owner has to do their part to protect both their own and their tenants’ interests. Flooding can cause serious damage to building structures and wipe out personal property, furniture, and fixtures fairly quickly. Instead of dealing with the aftermath, it is much better to heed the old advice about an ounce of prevention.
Do you need help evaluating your property for potential flood threats? Enlist the help of the property management experts at Bay Property Management Group. Contact our team today to get started.