Rain does a great job of going on its downward trajectory to get on the ground and become a part of the groundwater supply. Unfortunately, water can get impeded in its quest by manmade structures; roofs, parking lots, and streets all block water from getting soaked into the ground.
The takeaway from this is that rainwater blocked by a house roof runs off the roof. The water that had been spread over a larger area gets consolidated into the perimeter of your house. Without preventative measures, a great deal of water will be landing on and around your foundation. When this large quantity of runoff starts permeating your foundation, you run the risk of a flooded basement.
As a homeowner, there are some proactive steps you should take to limit your risks.
The common solution for diverting water away from your house foundation is by those funky metal troughs we call gutters. Gutters are pretty standard on houses, but it is really easy to render them irrelevant.
A gutter should be depositing water a good distance away from your foundation. You're more likely to encounter a flooded basement if your spout is depositing the water right by your house. Extend the spout further away from your home.
You can have as many gutters as you want, but if they're full of leaves and other build-up, the water will slosh over the side rather than flowing down the spout. Regularly cleaning out your gutters is crucial for avoiding excess water on your foundation.
Unlike gutters, which are an exterior way to battle flooded basements, a sump pump is your indoor protection. Usually located in a pit, the sump pump gathers collected water and expels it either into the sewer system, or at a different location away from the home.
Before installing a sump pump, find out the regulations for your area. Many municipalities have regulations against pumping into the sewer system as it can create problems with the sewage treatment facility.
A backup sump pump is a good idea in case you encounter problems with your main sump pump or to help out if your main pump isn't keeping up with the incoming water.
Your sump pump is only as effective as its ability to stay on. While some sump pumps have a battery in case of power failure, you'll be more secure with a generator providing power. The back-up battery is likely to only have enough power for a couple of hours.
A portable generator, on the other hand, can run for much longer than that and, if the wattage output is high enough, can also keep your major appliances on.
Water damage resulting from flooded basements can create a nightmare scenario. Being proactive before the big storm will increase your chances of avoiding a nasty situation.