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6 Chicago Basement Flood Prevention Tips You Should Know

Finding water in your basement is never a welcome surprise. In addition to being stressful, it can be costly and dangerous, putting your health and the safety of your family at risk. 

Here at ServiceMaster of Lake Shore, we provide flooded basement cleanup services for customers in Chicago and the suburbs, so we know a thing or two about basement flooding and how to avoid it. 

The weather in Chicago can be unpredictable, and anyone who lives here knows we can get very heavy, unexpected rain storms. While it’s impossible to guarantee you’ll never encounter a Chicago flooded basement thanks to the weather or other events, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk and keep your home dry. 

In this post, we’ll discuss the most important prevention methods and how to execute each.

Let’s dive in. 

Why Basement Flooding Happens in Chicago

The basements of most Chicago homes are very vulnerable to flooding. Simple things like malfunctioning water heaters, overflowing washing machines, and sump pump failure can quickly lead to flooding and standing water. 

Here in Chicago, flash floods and broken utility lines can also cause your basement to flood.

chicago basement flooded

How do I Protect my Chicago Basement From Flooding? 6 Tips to Try

Keep your basement dry with these tips:

1. Clean your gutters

While it may not seem like the gutters on your Chicago home have much to do with your basement, gutters serve the important purpose of directing rainwater away from your home. 

With this in mind, clean the gutters on your home each spring and fall to make sure they don’t overflow during a rainstorm. If the gutters are full of dead leaves, twigs, and debris, they won’t be able to accommodate water during a storm. Instead, they’ll overflow and direct water toward your home’s foundation and basement. 

2. Check your foundation for cracks

Inspect your home’s foundation (on the inside and outside) for cracks or gaps. If you see small cracks, use a waterproof caulk to seal them. If the cracks are more extensive (which is common in older homes), contact a skilled local professional to fix them before they allow water into your basement.

3. Check your home’s grading

Grading refers to the slope of the ground around your home. If the ground doesn’t slope away from your house, rainwater may drain near your foundation and create water damage. 

Improper grading can cause water to flow into your basement over time, causing significant damage and flooding. If your grading doesn’t slant away from your home properly, have your property re-graded to resolve the problem. 

4. Install a sump pump

Since Chicago basements are particularly vulnerable to flooding (they’re below ground, after all), a sump pump is one of the best ways to prevent standing water from building up. Sump pumps collect standing water and pump it outside before it can flood your basement.

If you don’t already have a sump pump, installing one is a great way to keep your basement dry and clean, especially during seasons of storms or heavy rains.

For your sump pump to work well, though, you have to maintain it. Here are a few tips:

  • Keep an eye on the sump pump’s motor. If you find that the motor is not running, check that the pump is plugged in, or call a professional to repair the pump.  
  • Check the sump pump’s discharge line regularly. Make sure it extends far from your home and drains water at a safe distance from your foundation. 
  • Consider installing a backup generator. If you lose power during a storm, the backup generator will allow your sump pump to continue working. 

5. Use landscaping to your advantage

In addition to grading your property away from your home, you can adjust your landscaping to make basement flooding less likely.

For example, if you use mulch in the flower beds around your home, keep a barrier of about six inches or so between the landscaping and the outside walls of your home. 

You can also try:

  • Diverting rain spouts
  • Building a rain garden that will absorb excess water
  • Installing a green roof to trap rain and runoff
  • Digging out an indentation in your lawn to divert rain and roof runoff away from the foundation of your home
  • Use heavier mulch in your garden to capture rain and moisture

6. Extend downspouts

If your gutters end right above the ground around your home, add an extra length of gutter to direct water further away from the home. 

Be sure to direct the extended downspout away from the home toward graded lawn areas. During heavy rains, this will prevent rainfall from saturating the ground and backing up in your basement. 

Dealing with a Flooded Basement in Chicago? We can Help!

Sometimes basement flooding happens despite your best efforts. If you find yourself in that situation, our team is here to help. 

We provide emergency flooding services for Chicago residents, and can help you restore and reclaim your property and get life back to normal. 

Contact us today to restore your flooded basement back to normal.