How to Protect Your Home Against Spring Flooding

Water Restoration

Before going into spring flooding prevention, let’s take a couple of steps back. Several years ago I was a participant in a sprint triathlon. We were unable to complete the swimming portion of the race due to heavy rains, which brought bacteria, parasites and fecal matter from the ground and washed into the river. 

During the race, the downpour was so severe that 4 inches of rainwater poured down within 45 minutes.  Of our group of 15 people that went, only 2 cell phones survived the rain.  The race was canceled midway through due to thunder and lightning.  We had a hard time finding everyone in our group when the race was canceled as we did not have a plan in place before the event, which was exacerbated because of the loss of the cell phones.

It was a stressful day not only because of the weather changing the events of the day, but the worry of being around thousands of people but not being able to find our group.  Here are some tips on preparation in the event of a flood in NJ.

What Causes Flooding from Spring Rainstorms?

As we have all heard of the saying “April showers bring May Flowers,” those who live in areas that are prone to flooding think April Showers bring May Flooding.  When we receive heavy rainfalls in our area, the Rahway and Raritan Rivers overflow onto surrounding areas due to the prolonged rains over several days or heavy downpours, like during my triathlon.

The issues with the Rahway River flowing through several towns in NJ (West Orange, Millburn, Maplewood, Springfield, Union, Cranford, Clark, and Rahway, to name a few) slow up the process of formulating a plan of action to help prevent flooding, such as dredging and building flood control systems, since these plans have to work its way through many municipalities/government agencies and board meetings.  Surface water due to snow melt or rainfall that accumulates faster than the river can carry it away or before the soil can absorb it creates flooding. According to The National Weather Service, about 75% of all Presidential disaster declarations are associated with flooding

flooded basement cranford nj
A photograph taken at a past job in Chatham, NJ.

5 Spring Flooding Prevention and Preparation Tips for Homeowners & Commercial Property Owners

Although thawing snow and heavy rains won’t stop, taking the necessary steps can prevent the water from getting into and damaging your home or office. Here are 5 spring flooding prevention tips:

1. Create an Emergency Spring Flood Plan

Creating an emergency plan in the event of a flood is the first step.  You should have a copy of family members’ contact info as well as school, medical facilities, service providers, and local emergency contacts, like the fire and police departments.  Share this plan with all family members and store it so it is with you or in a location where you could access it at all times.  To make sure that everyone knows what to do in an emergency, practice what you would do in an emergency and where you would meet. 

2. Check Your Insurance Policy

Homeowners who live in a flood prone area should take the time to check their insurance policies and make sure they are covered for spring flooding. Insurance companies do not automatically cover floods.  Check to see if you have flood insurance, as this is a separate policy.  If you have renovated your basement, make sure that you contact your insurance broker to change your policy to include the value of the improvements.

3. Basement Flooding Prevention with Sump Pump & French Drains

Two things that will help your basement from flooding are the installation of French drains and a sump pump.  Click here for explanation on what is a French drain and how to know if you have one. If you have a sump pump, check your insurance policy to make sure that you have a sump pump endorsement that covers damage to your home/office and contents affected by the backup.  Test your sump pump monthly to insure that the float is not stuck and that the sump pump is working properly.  Check out our YouTube video on Sump Pump Tips.

rahway river cranford
Rahway River in early spring.

4. Check the exterior of your Building

Your spring flooding prevention plan should include maintenance items for the exterior of your home: 

  1. Make sure that debris and leaves are not clogging your gutters. 
  2. Downspouts should be carrying water away from the foundation, not pooling around the foundation. 
  3. Make sure that your soil/mulch is not sloping toward your foundation. 
  4. Install a window well cover if you have window wells, and make sure that the area near the window is free from debris.  

5. Install Flood Detection Sensors

Water detection sensors can notify you as soon as you have a burst pipe or flooding in your basement.  You can act quickly and reduce the size of the water loss.

Call PuroClean for Water Damage Restoration!

Nobody can forecast the weather, but we do have the ability to take precautions to safeguard ourselves. The best precautions aren’t guaranteed as water damage is still possible.  Call our office at 908-577-9120 if you have any questions or have a flooded basement.  We are available 24/7.

Last edited on 22nd of March 2022