How homeowners, service providers are dealing with soggy basements, crawlspaces
Professionals recommend checking for water intrusion every day this spring
Crouching over in a soggy crawlspace as icy water runs into tall boots while trying to fix a sump pump is not any homeowner’s idea of a fun chore.
Local service providers say checking for water intrusion in the lowest level of homes is imperative to do every day for at least the next three weeks.
“Do not ignore it. Keep an eye on it, and check it every day, especially when we are hitting these warms like this week,” All Drain Services Owner Anthony Del Guercio said Thursday, April 13.
Del Guercio has been working up to 12-hour days at homes across Routt County to address clogged perimeter drains and sump pump outlets as well as flooded basements, crawlspaces and garages due to the fast snowmelt. One of his worst calls was to a home with water pouring in through the basement windows.
Kevin Welu, owner of EcoTreck Remediation in Steamboat Springs, was exhausted and inspecting yet another wet crawlspace late Thursday afternoon. Other EcoTreck employees were busy pulling up soggy flooring from a home west of Steamboat Springs where a sump pump had failed.
Project Manager Josh Schrader at Forward Restoration in Steamboat Springs said his company is seeing a high number of crawlspace and basement floods this season from longtime locals who haven’t had flooding issues in the past 20 to 30 years. He said homes in newer neighborhoods also are experiencing flooding issues with the high snowfall this season.
Although preparations to prevent snowmelt intrusion and home flooding should happen before winter starts, homeowners can still dig drain paths in the snow to help divert the runoff away from the home foundation, Schrader said. Experts remind that grading and landscaping around the edges of a home should always allow water to run away from the foundation.
“Keep snow away from and out of egress window wells. When possible, keep snow from piling up along the perimeter of the home. With record winters like this year, that can be a very difficult task,” Schrader said.
Del Guercio recommends installation of a simple battery-operated electronic water detector also called a leak alert or flood alarm that functions along the same lines of protection as a home smoke or carbon monoxide detector. He recommends homeowners flip the power to the sump pump and pump float switches to ensure they are both functioning. He even recommends homeowners may want to keep a backup sump pump on hand because the pumps can fail due to rust and corrosion.
Aaron Orta, service tech at M&N Plumbing Supply in Steamboat, said Thursday the store had sold 22 sump pumps in the past two days and put 30 more on order. Orta believes many homeowners thinking of the change in seasons tell themselves, “‘Next year I’ll be ready,’ and they forget.”
On Thursday, Steamboat Ace Hardware was sold out of sump pumps and had more on order. Steamboat Lumber reported brisk sales of sump pumps with only a few remaining and more planned for order.
Marcus Dudoit, owner of Blu Environmental in Steamboat since 2016, is not too busy, but his mold inspection, testing and remediation company was very busy this winter due to the increase in homes leaking from roof ice dams. Dudoit anticipates his company to become very busy soon when flooded homes grow mold.
“We will all be dealing with mold more so in a few weeks and months as all this water collects in people’s crawlspaces,” Dudoit said. “I encourage people not to let water issues go unresolved very long. Mold can start growing in as little as 24 to 48 hours.”
Dudoit also said that water intrusion into crawlspaces may require more homeowners to have radon systems inspected and repaired. Sediment, water and weight of the water can damage sealed radon systems.
Although some preventative measures may be too late now to combat this year’s snowmelt, the service providers recommend that homeowners mark their calendars to prepare appropriately this fall before winter hits again.
“The best way to stay ahead of snowmelt run flooding is by taking preventative measures before the winter season,” Schrader said. “Check drainage areas around the home or property. Make sure areas are clear of debris. Check gutters, perimeter drains and landscape slopes. Inspect your sump pump, and test it to verify it’s still functioning properly.”
To reach Suzie Romig, call 970-871-4205 or email sromig@SteamboatPilot.com.
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