Springtime Yard Fun

Last week my backyard was a pool due to the rain and the snowmelt. Unfortunately the ground is still frozen and there’s nowhere for the water to go.  This means the water pools and the levels get higher, or I find a way to make the water go somewhere else. I had to spend an hour with a pickaxe making a trench to let the water drain away from my garage doors and into a lower portion of my yard. As you can see in the picture above, the dogs didn’t mind.

As much as this weather keeps us inside, I highly recommend you take a walk around the outside of your house. Water is an extremely tenacious intruder and you need to keep an eye on it. How about some times on springtime tips to prevent water entering your home?

Look for areas that the water is pooling. Look for areas that the water could get into a door or window. Look for the source of water, such as an eavestrough or downspout. 

Sometimes you can simply carve a trench in the snow or ice to give the water an easy retreat. See my pickaxe fun up above.

Ensure your eavestroughs and downspouts are clear at the top and bottom. Once they are flowing, make sure your downspouts have extensions to discharge as far from the house as is reasonably possible. A good rule of thumb is that it should be at least 6 feet, or at least one foot horizontally for every foot of depth of your foundation below grade.

Don’t just hope or assume your house is impenetrable. If there’s any chance at all the water might get in you want to plan for that. Make sure valuables are up off the basement floor by at least a small amount. That might make a difference between an annoying wet floor or the destruction of precious belongings.

It doesn’t hurt to install a few water sensors in areas that are most likely to suffer water infiltration. They can be standalone sensors or they can be connected to your alarm system or smart phone. They will alarm or send a signal if they get wet.

Test your sump pump regularly. If it isn’t working properly, replace it. The $1-200 to replace your pump is a heck of a lot lower than your $2000 water damage deductible. And that assumes your policy covers water damage. 

While we’re on insurance, when was the last time you reviewed your insurance policy with your trusted insurance professional? Ask them about discounts for sump pumps, backflow preventing valves, etc.

Between snowmelt and spring rains, as well as sporadic freezing and thawing temperatures, there is a lot of opportunity for water to become an unexpected and unwanted intruder in your home. You should consider water to be much more of a threat to your home than fire or human shenanigans. A little bit of vigilance goes a long way to keeping water out and keeping your house safe.

And hey. Sometimes we find interesting things when the snow melts away. At a recent home inspection these shoes made themselves apparent after a winter hibernation.

Footwear emerging from winter hibernation