Protecting your home from spring flooding

What does the snowy winter and wet April mean for homes? Wet basements and sump pump failures.

"We had a particularly bad ice dam season that is now transitioning into a particularly bad melt and flood season. The weather has done us no favors," said Shlomo Nathan, a project manager with Paul Davis Restoration.

Nathan said crews at Paul Davis Restoration are busy responding to sump pump failures. He said there are ways homeowners can prevent that from happening to them.

"Folks who have sump pumps, as the weather starts to turn like this, you need to make sure you have a backup battery system and if you don't, get one. If you do, make sure that it works. Test it, turn it on, check to see that it'll run without main power because that's probably the most common reason people's basements flood," Nathan said.

Basement floods can damage floors, furniture and electrical equipment, costing homeowners tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Nathan said homeowners can handle some minor flooding on their own with fans or a dehumidifier. But if they get in over their heads, they should have a plan in place of who they need to call.

He also recommends homeowners check the outside of their homes. If their sump pumps are draining too close to the house, he recommends putting in small shrubs or trees to soak up some of the water.

"Keep an eye on where your gutters are draining out to and make sure that those downspouts are going well away from the foundation of your home," he explained.

Homeowners also should learn what their insurance policies cover. The Minnesota Department of Commerce said neither flood insurance nor a typical homeowners policy will cover damage due to a sump pump failure after a major downpour. To protect property, a homeowner must buy a separate product.

"It's also heartbreaking when you have a nicely finished basement, oftentimes, homeowners' policies will only have a set limit on sump pump backup coverage," Nathan said.