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Easy Tips To Avoid Flooding In Your Home

Not everyone is a homeowner expert.  Some of us (me) walk into places like Home Depot, look around at all the tools and gadgets and screws and walk right back out.  Flathead, starhead, that’s how I differentiate screwdrivers.  That kind of thing just isn’t my cuppa.  I am, however, a responsible homeowner.  Or I try to be.  While I don’t know much about how stuff works or why, I know some basics.  And with the snow piling up here where I live, I’m dreaming of spring…and with spring, there’s flooding.  Here are some basic (super easy) tips on things you can do to help prevent flooding in your home:

Keep gutters and downspouts clean.  Clogged gutters and downspouts will encourage water to pool around your foundation causing water damage.  Sitting water can seep into cracks in your foundation and cause structural damage and flooding.  Cleaning gutters and downspouts is something you should do every spring and fall to prevent this.  I usually send my husband out around the time the clocks change to do this chore.  Make sure to point downspouts well away from the house to keep water away.  Difficulty Level:  Medium.  (Ladders can be challenging.)

When it rains, it pours…don’t add to it.  What I mean here is that when it IS raining cats and dogs, lay off your own water usage.  Rainy days may seem like a great time to get some chores done, but you can lessen your chances (and your neighbor’s) of  a flooded house by not using a lot of water.  More water in the sewer system equals more risk to your home.  Do what I do on rainy days…watch Snapped marathons on Oxygen and remind my husband how lucky he is I’m not crazy.  Difficulty Level:  Super Easy (Use your couch, not your dishwasher.)

Recycle accordingly.  Once upon a time I dumped about two pounds of spaghetti noodles into the garbage disposal and flipped the switch.   The disposal made a noise similar to what I imagine a sick whale would sound like.  It literally and loudly moaned.  Then it died.  So I called in my handy husband to investigate the matter.  He took the garbage disposal apart, discovered the 2 pounds of noodles, gave me a little scolding (“WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?”) and fixed it.  Now if you want to avoid this type of situation – AND save  yourself some flooding cleanup issues – do NOT put stuff down your drains (garbage disposal or not) that doesn’t belong there.  What does this include?  Bacon grease, cooking oils, fats, or any kind of liquid that solidifies over time.  Even if you rinse these things down with hot water they can and will solidify in your pipes.  Keep those pipes clean!  Difficulty level:  Pretty Easy (Just don’t do it..that’s all!)

Don’t flush that!  I have five kids so I’ve got tons of stories about things that were flushed down the toilet that should not have been.  Backed up toilet sewage in your yard is NOT a pretty (or pleasant-smelling) sight.  Other than your own waste and TP, not much else should be flushed down the toilet.  Q-Tips are a big no-no and the bane of my existence.  I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had to have the toilet “snaked” due to Q-Tips.  Other things to watch for before you flush:  children’s toys, pet’s toys, womanly sanitary products (the unflushable kind), cotton balls, condoms, bandages and wipes.  If you’re questioning why toys would end up in the toilet, then you don’t have a 2 year old kid or a dog who dropped his ball in the toilet when getting a drink.  No, dogs shouldn’t drink from the toilet, but they don’t usually ask first.  Be an appropriate flusher!  Difficulty Level:  Easy Peasy  (Unless you’ve got a home full of dogs and 2 year olds.)

Don’t put your mancave in an often flooded area…like the basement.  Why not?  Think about what’s in your home’s mancave.  The 64” LED or LCD or LSD or whatever TV, the surround sound system, the big leather couch and recliner, the pool table, the bar, the napkin Brett Favre signed that you had framed, the Blu-ray thing, etc, etc, etc.  The higher your insurance claim is after a flood, the more likely your premiums will go up.  Okay, this isn’t a tip to prevent flooding, but it is a good idea.  Move the mancave to the garage or the den or your mother’s.  Difficulty Level:  Who Wears the Pants in the Family?  (Yeah, not me, the mancave is in the basement and my insurance premiums are crazy high…)

So, while you may not be super savvy when it comes to taking care of your home, you can do some things to help prevent a flooding disaster.   Things like keeping your gutters clean, managing water appropriately and keeping pipes clean can make a big difference.  You don’t need to know exactly how a sump pump works or how to replace the garbage disposal, but knowing some basics definitely helps!


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