RTS Environmental Services, Inc.

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30 Years Experience · Family Owned & Operated

Top 10 things you can do to Prevent Water Incursion and Mold Damage in your Home

1. Assure gutters, downspouts are functional, especially the buried types.

  • If the buried lines are clogged, disconnect them to spill at the surface extended away from the foundation.
  • Extend spouts away from the foundation by at least 3 feet.
  • Check for gutter overflow during heavy rainfall.
  • Check for ponding  water at the foundation and look for the source
  • Gutter Filters (such as Leaf-Filter) work better than the gutter helmets/ guards (which often reject rapid water runoff)

2. Exterior Grading, water drainage and plants.

  • This also relates to the gutters and downspouts, but the means for water to drain away quickly is important.
  • A reasonable pitch away from the foundation by 4 inches or more is needed.
  • In some cases a non-permeable membrane is needed to help shed water away fully from the foundation.  
  • This is a Watershed Membrane which may run the length of the house and out by 4 to 5 feet and can be covered with ground covers like mulch or stone
  • Do not plant trees or shrubs that grow too large to manage near the foundation where roots cause issues and trap water.

3. Exterior drains.

  • If you have an exterior stairwell or steep driveway you need to check your drains.
  • Water can back up and enter the basement or garage and cause extensive damage.
  • Also some drains are attached to sump pits / pumps which can be overwhelmed.

4. Sump pump  / pit functioning.

  • Check sump pit and pump function often, seasonally and prior to major rainfall forecasts.
  • Pumps can be triggered to assure they are operational either with a floater valve or electrical switch where the pump is plugged in.
  • Also, backup battery units are available which will continue to operate the sump pump with a power outage.

5. Dehumidification.

  • Operate at least one dehumidifier in the basement to maintain 50% relative humidity or less.
  • Dehumidifiers can be gravity drained to a floor drain or sump pit or obtain one with a pump out feature to pump the water to a sink or pipe stem.

6. Window and door leaks (caulking with urethane caulk).

  • Check your windows and door seals and caulk beads.
  • Check the thresholds for cracks and aging caulk.
  • Remove old caulk and re-seal using Urethane type caulk material which works best long term and is paintable. 

7. Turn water off when you are away.  Water main off.

  • Find where your water main is located so you know during a plumbing emergency how to turn it off.
  • If you go away for more than a few days, turn-off your water main and bleed the water in the pipes to release the pressure.
  • Insurance companies are starting to deny water claims if mishaps occur in your absence. It’s a very simple safeguard.

8. Never turn the HVAC entirely off, operate it to maintain a reasonable temperature range.

  • For winter a range of 60 to 70 degrees
  • For summer a range of 75 to 80 deg. but keep your dehumidifier operating.

9. In the winter, turn off the hose bib valves. Identity the valve locations and ensure valves function properly.

  • In a cold snap, hose bibs freeze and burst which causes serious water damage.
  • Locate the valves, tag them, and turn them off usually best in November.

10. Check on the house if away for extended times.

  • Have a friend or neighbor check on the house after storms or electrical outages.
  • Cameras and WiFi moisture monitors can also alert you by cell phone if moisture is detected.

11. Call RTS Environmental Services for an onsite consultation with our experienced professionals at 800-722-5589.