making hay in sunny VermontThe Vermont flood waters have finally receded. The sun is shining and summer emerged. Vermont farmers are making hay, kids are eating ice cream at the Lake, life is good. Across the state, wet basements have been dried and reconstruction is well underway. Though in some wet basement cases, because homeowners waited, water damage services became mold remediation services, we are on the other side of an unprecedented soggy event.

Or are we? 2011 definitely takes the prize for Major Disaster Declarations in Vermont, with almost 6,000 incidents reported from the spring storms, but there is a history of flooding in our little state. Looking back at FEMA records, there were several recorded Major Disaster Declarations here:

March 1964  – Flooding
August 1969 – Severe Storms, Flooding
July 1973  –  Severe Storms, Flooding, Landslides
August 1976 – Severe Storms, High Winds, Flooding

View the full report here, but you get the picture: every four years or so, Vermonters are victims of flooding and subsequent water damage. In fact there are more than 1 million water damage incidents every year in the United States. This is not a recipe for certain disaster, but rather a call to action. Prevention is the very best medicine for water damage.

There are things you can do, beside moving to the top of a hill, to prevent water damage in the future. Here are some important steps you can take to keep your feet dry the next time Mother Nature throws it at us:

  • Clean Your Gutters – This is a painless job that should be done annually. It will probably cost you less than $100, depending on the size of your house.
  • Clean Your Perimeter Drains – This job should be done every 3-5 years. Every time you have your septic tank pumped, you should also have your perimeter drains cleaned. Just put it in your calendar and make a date when the time comes.
  • Get an Inspection – A professional inspector can give you the heads-up on possible water damage vulnerabilities in your home. Even if you are a do-it-yourselfer, it pays to get some professional guidance here.  A general home inspection will cost less than $500.
  • Permeable Paving – Or Gravel Fill – Conventional asphalt and concrete pavement prevents water from naturally seeping into the ground, instead it runs off to surrounding low areas – like your basement. Try using a permeable pavement or paving stones. Better yet, use gravel fill. The paving should cost less than $5000, the gravel less than $1000. Either can cost less than remediation and reconstruction.
  • Sump Pumps – Installing a sump pump could save you thousands. Considered by many to be the last line of defense against excess water, a sump pump can divert enough water away from your home to prevent harm your property.

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