If you’ve ever had water in your basement thanks to a Chicago summer storm, you know how terrifying that experience can be. Mid-May to June often brings brief yet strong storms to the Chicago area - often dropping inches of water in a very short amount of time. This can quickly overwhelm the storm drains on city streets and gangways near your home or building. With nowhere to go, the water often finds its way back into your basement (or apartment, if you live in a garden) - causing possible water damage, sewer backups, mold, or furniture and flooring damage. It’s true that April showers brings May flowers, but this situation brings no fun at all.
The good news is that there are several things you can check up on right now, and with the right level of preparation and attention, you can avoid that unwanted basement swimming pool.
The Fixer Pre-Storm Checklist
The best rule of thumb is to clear out and push the water away! Here’s a Fixer checklist to help keep you and your property safe from dreaded water repairs all summer long.
Check for drain blockage.
It's amazing what just a few blades of grass cuttings, leaves or sticks can do to block a drain. If you don’t have time to check yourself, we can locate your outside drains in gangways and sidewalks and make sure they are clear of debris.
Do a gutter check.
Your gutters should be free of debris, but you should also check your downspouts. Make sure the spouts are aimed well away from the home and on a downward angle. Most home inspectors recommend making sure the spouts run at least 3-4 feet away from the foundation. If you have a downspout that simply releases water near the foundation, that can pour right into your basement during a hard storm. Not sure that your downspouts are at the right angle? We can help.
Got a sump pump?
Don’t be afraid to check your sump pump regularly. Simply reach down and pull the ballast weight up (simulating a high water level in the well). The pump should immediately kick on and pump the water out. If you can’t confirm that it’s working, we can check your sump pump for you.
You should also have a backup plan in place if your power goes out. In Illinois, most pumps require a back up pump with car battery charger. Double check that the battery is charging properly: if the pump or battery is over 5 years old, you're living on borrowed time.
Don’t forget your window wells.
Do you have basement windows with wells? Make sure they are covered and the angle of the covers pushes water away from the basement walls.
Use landscaping to your advantage.
It's hard in Chicago as we don't always have a lot of control over landscaping - buildings are close together and alleys are often paved. But wherever you can, use dirt or mulch to build up your landscaping around your foundation so that water is directed out and away from your foundation. This will help prevent water from pooling in dips in the ground that allow water to slowly make its way into your foundation.
Don’t let monsoon doom and gloom ruin your summer.
If you need help ensuring your property is prepared for the Chicago summer storms, schedule a Fixer today so that you can spend your summer in an actual pool - not drying out your basement.