How Can I Protect My Home?

Understanding how your property’s stormwater drainage system functions can help protect your home from flooding. A property’s drainage system can typically be divided into two categories: above ground/surface water and below ground/subsurface water.

Above Ground/Surface Water- The above ground drainage system surrounding your home that directs surface water away from the structure is made up of your yard, gutters and downspouts, and sump pump discharge pipe. A basic visual inspection of the exterior of your home and yard can help identify any problems that could contribute to a flooded structure.

  • Grading - the ground surrounding your home, as well as walkways and driveways, should slope away from the building.
  • Roofs - Rooftops should have gutters with downspouts that are extended away from the home’s foundation.
  • Sump Pump Discharge - If your home has a sump pump, the exterior discharge should be extended away from the home and foundation. The sump pump should be discharged to the exterior of the home. Preferably, sump pump water should be discharged at least 10 feet away from the house in such a way that the water flows away from the house towards a swale or storm sewer inlet. The discharge pipe should not be directed towards the foundation of the house or into a window well. The discharge may not be directed onto public property, such as the sidewalk, alley, or street. The sump pump cannot be connected to the sanitary sewer or your basement floor drain.

Below Ground/Subsurface Water - The majority of homes with basements are built with a subsurface drainage system, also referred to as a foundation drain. The main components include gravel backfill, perimeter drain tile and a sump pump. These components function best when surface water is handled properly, as described above.

Common Causes of Flooding and Solutions
There are a number of potential ways a home can flood. In the event that your home does flood, it is important to determine the source to help prevent future flooding occurrences.

Sump Pump Failures - Sump pump failures can contribute to a flooded basement; however, it is important to troubleshoot the specific problem of the sump pump.

  • If water is rising out of your sump pump pit, it is because your sump pump cannot keep up with the flow entering the drain system below your foundation. Please check the above ground conditions noted above. If the problem persists, consider purchasing a larger pump or an additional pump with separate discharge pipe.
  • If the pump is running, but no water appears to be discharging, the pump could have a mechanical problem or the outlet pipe could have a blockage. A plumber can be consulted for assistance.
  • Power outages can be a source of concern during a rain event. A back-up battery sump pump can help alleviate this problem, but only for a short period without supplemental power from a generator.

Basement Seepage (through walls or floor cracks) - If water is seeping through cracks or joints in the foundation walls or floor, ensure that surface water is being kept away from the home’s foundation. If the problem persists, contact a waterproofing professional to have them inspect and appropriately seal the foundation.

Window Well Overflow - If water is flowing into your basement from a window well, ensure that surface water is being kept away from the opening of the window well. The drains located in the window well may also be blocked. A plumber or waterproofing specialist may be able to correct this problem.

Sanitary Backups (through the floor drain) - If water is rising from a floor drain, sink or toilet, there may be a back-up of the sanitary sewer.

If your property is susceptible to flooding, there are many flood damage reduction measures you may wish to consider. Some of these need permits, so check first with our Community Development Department.

  • Watertight seals applied to brick and block walls to help protect against low-level flooding.
  • Elevate water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners and other major appliances to higher floors or on raised platforms.
  • Raise the entire home above flood levels. Most wood frame houses can be elevated, allowingflood waters to flow under the house without damaging it.
  • If the sanitary sewer backs up into the basement during heavy rains, a plug or standpipe can stop this if water does not get more than one or two feet deep and if there are no toilets on the lowest level. The most effective solution for sewer backup flooding is installation of an overhead sewer connection. The Village offers financial assistance to install overhead sewer connections.
  • Temporary measures such as moving furniture and other valuables to higher floors or sandbagging exterior openings may also help.