Spring is here.

And, if this spring is anything like last spring, we’re in for a LOT of precipitation. While the grass, trees, and flowers may like all that extra attention that they’re getting, often times our homes are unprepared for the seemingly eternal (we know that’s a bit of an overstatement, but still…) onslaught of unending rain. This became readily apparent to a multitude of homeowners last year but only AFTER the damage had already been done. And, even though here at Golden Rule Contractors roofing is our specialty, we DON’T want our readers to be uninformed.

So, let’s take a few moments to review one very important item when it comes to rainwater and your home – a sump pump.

What Is a Sump Pump? Do I Need One?

A sump pump is something that works to remove moisture and prevent flooding. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, over 60% of homes in America have some type of excess moisture in their basement (or crawlspace). Even if this doesn’t lead to a full out flood, having too much moisture in a basement can lead to other problems…like mold. This means that, if you live in an area that’s prone to large amounts of snow or rainfall, a sump pump is a very good investment.

How Do Sump Pumps Work?

A sump pump is housed in a sump pit, which is something that’s specially constructed below the main surface of the basement floor (many times these pits have a black plastic cover over them). The majority of sump pumps have a flotation system that causes the device to turn on (and begin pumping water out of the pit) when the water reaches a certain level.

Where does the water go? Well, it’s pumped away from the house – typically via PVC piping – to a spot where it can safely drain away from the foundation. It is important to note that sump pumps are powered via electricity; so, if you live in an area that has frequent power outages (or if your basement is VERY prone to taking on water), having a backup, battery powered pump installed is a good idea.

Now, let’s spend a few minutes discussing some of the more common types of residential drainage systems (because, even with a state of the art roof and a top notch sump pump, if your property isn’t set up to drain properly, you WILL have problems eventually).

There are four main types of residential drainage systems – surface, subsurface, slope, and downspouts and gutters.

Surface Drainage

The main component of surface drainage systems are shallow ditches that have been dug in a parallel pattern, which serve as canals to channel run-off water. Ditches lead the water away from the home (often times to a main drain) so that water doesn’t pool around the house or flood the foundation. If your home is built in a very flat area, chances are that you have this type of drainage system nearby.

Subsurface Drainage

A subsurface drainage system (often referred to as a ‘French Drain’) is one that is beneath the top layer of soil and works to remove any excess water at the root level. Believe it or not, but plants and trees can have too much water – especially when they’re just sitting in it, which can cause the roots to deteriorate. Subsurface drains involve a network of underground piping that leads water to a central drain away from the area.

Downspouts and Gutters

Downspouts and gutters – which is something that we’re pretty much all familiar with – exist to collect water that has run off from the roof (into the gutters) and channel it down and away from the home (via the downspouts). Downspouts often empty onto a slope so that water won’t pool at the base of the spout.

Slope Drainage

And that brings us to our fourth and final drainage system – the slope system. Slope drains allow water to flow away from a structure via pipes down a slope. In this instance, the water simply follows gravity and moves down (and away) from the home.

It’s important to note that residential drainage systems are a requirement since they help to prevent flooding, structural damage, rot, and mold that can occur when too much water is present.

If drainage issues are a problem for you, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Gutters and downspouts are something that Golden Rule Contractors specialize in, and we can help ensure that your home is outfitted appropriately. And, if it appears that other drainage systems would be of benefit to you, we’ll make sure to get you’re hooked up with other professionals in the area that we know and trust!