5 On Your Side

See, smell the hints of water damage before your home floods

Posted September 4

Harvey's flooding showed the destruction floodwaters can do to a home, but even even a small leak can do a lot of damage.

Homeowners can take precautions to prevent expensive problems.

There is no way to keep a home dry in 5 feet of rain, there are ways to keep a brief but drenching rain from causing major damage.

"We try to tell homeowners, it's the water you can't see that causes the most damage," said John Bryant of AquaGaurd.

"When your basement leaks, it doesn't decide to leak one day. There's a lot of early warning signs such as dampness in the basement or musty
odor, cracks on the walls or floor. Again, some kind of discoloration on the walls, white powder on the walls."

Bryant recommends all homeowners

1. Make sure the sump pump is operating
2. Install a battery backup or generator for the sump pumps
3. Have wide trenches or French drains dug in the basement that run into the sump pump
4. Look for early warning signs (and smells) of leakage
5. Make sure all gutters are clear and running well away from the home
6. Homeowners without a basement should make sure the land around the home is well graded away from the slab foundation.

A sump pump can cost $2,000 and up. Foundation repair runs in the tens of thousands.

Bryant said his business has jumped 50 percent in the last 5 years due to heavier rainfalls and more consumer concern about what a damp house does to air quality.

He recommends choosing a waterproofing company that has been in business awhile, and getting a long-term warranty on any work.

"You want to make sure the company is still around if the water comes in again," he said.

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