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Weathering Summer Storms

Storms during the summer are typically fast and fierce, often arriving with little warning, and they can deliver a deluge of water that can damage homes, yards, landscaping and gardens.

Because summer storms often arrive quickly and with little warning, it’s important for homeowners to proactively check for potential drainage problems and actual ones. Taking action to fix potential drainage problems before a storm hits and to mitigate minor damage after a storm will head off larger, more expensive water problems that can emerge as the summer wears on.

The financial costs of a drainage problem can be significant:

· Drying a basement of water ranges from $1,000-$10,000, according to the U.S. National Flood Insurance Program

· Repairing damage to a home’s foundation can range anywhere from $3,500 to $25,000, according to the National Association of Realtors

· Replacing a landscape washed away from heavy rains averages $7,500 and can run as high as $30,000, according to HomeAdvisor

To keep drainage issues top of mind during the summer, homeowners should make four key checks on a weekly basis:

1. Clean out gutters and downspouts

Inspect your gutters and remove any debris that has collected; this ensures that water can properly flow through the gutters, and away from your roof and home, and reduces the chances of buildup and clogging once a storm hits.

2. Inspect your yard for obstructions

Remove any ground level branches, leaves, trash or other debris from your yard that can become obstructions to storm water drainage systems and cause flooding; as general practice, it’s best to never dump anything down storm drains — sweep grass clippings, fertilizer and soil onto your lawn so they don’t get washed into storm drains — and pick up pet waste to help reduce bacterial and nutrient pollution.

3. Abide by the 10-foot rule

If water isn’t carried far enough away from your house, it can collect against your home’s foundation wall or footing and compromise its integrity, and could seep into your basement or crawl space; make sure downspouts from gutters carry water at least 10 feet away from your home; if they don’t, pick up a downspout extension pipe at your local hardware or home improvement store and install it.

4. Clear street drains of debris

It’s a good idea to check for debris that may be blocking stormwater drains in the street adjacent to your house because you’ll better protect your property from overflowing streets and flooded lawns that can cause seepage back into your basement and other low-lying areas.

For fixing known drainage problems, use one of the three most common solutions that can be purchased at home improvement and hardware stores:

· Catch basin: Designed to trap sediment, debris, contaminants and pollutants so that they cannot enter drainage pipes, catch basins are installed beneath downspouts; catch basins easily connect to underground drain age pipes where the water can drain to a safe location

· Pop-up emitter: When connected to the end of an underground drainage pipe, a pop-up emitter allows water to be diverted and released to safe areas away from structures and poor drainage areas; its pop-up top allows water to be released when full while staying closed when empty to keep rodents and debris out of the system

· French drain: A trench filled with gravel, rock or a gravel-free alternative containing a perforated pipe, a French drain directs stormwater away from a specific area, blocks the passage of excess debris, and collects water over the entire length of the drain instead of one particular spot

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