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Basement Maintenance 101: 5 Tips for Maintaining Your Basement

Published: July 2016

Does your home have a basement? If so, you may know there are regular checks you can perform to help monitor it for potential issues.

This video walks you through some of the basics. But remember: If you suspect there’s a problem, or don’t feel comfortable performing a self-assessment, consider hiring a professional.

Video Transcript

00:02 Like the rest of your home, basements require maintenance. And while you may need to call in a professional to fix any potential issues, these five tips can help you know what to look out for.

00:11 Basement maintenance starts outside. Inspect your gutters and downspouts for clogs, leaks and breaks. The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, says to make sure your drainpipe carries water at least five feet away from the house.

00:28 Malfunctioning downspouts and gutters can dump water along your house. That moisture may seep into your basement or may cause the soil around your basement to swell and push the walls inward, leading to potential cracking, says Jim Hise, owner of Expert Basement Repair in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

00:42 Grading refers to how level the ground is around your house. Positive grading means water flows away from your house — which is what you want, according to the EPA. Negative grading means the water runs toward your house.

00:54 One way to check the grade, Hise says, is by inspecting the ground after a rainfall to see if the water is puddling around the house.

01:02 Window wells are another area where water may collect and cause potential problems, according to Hise. To help keep your wells clear, make sure the drain hasn't been clogged with debris.

01:14 You can also cover the well with a contoured clear panel that can help keep rain out but still let natural light in. This may be available at your local hardware store.

01:23 Cracks in your basement walls may indicate possible moisture and structural problems, Hise says. Your best bet when it comes to cracks can be to seek expert input.

01:32 According to the Sump and Sewage Pump Manufacturers Association, or SSPMA, regular maintenance is necessary to help keep your sump pump in proper working order.

01:42 Start by consulting your sump pump manual. The SSPMA recommends cleaning the screen or inlet opening on your pump every three months. You may need to do this more often if the pump is connected to an automatic washing machine.

01:55 The SSPMA also recommends testing the pump every three to four months by pouring water into it to get its cycle started.

02:02 According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, also known as InterNACHI, if it doesn't activate, you should call in a professional.

02:12 On a yearly basis, the SSPMA recommends that you remove and clean the pump and sump pit.

02:18 InterNACHI also recommends annual sump pump maintenance. You may need to hire a professional for these services.

02:27 Want more tips and resources for maintaining your home? Visit


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Our pages are filled with helpful tips and information about the topics that most of us face in our everyday lives. We focus on safety and maintenance issues with regard to your home, auto, apartment, motorcycle, boat, small business, finances and more. Please recognize that a particular tip may not be effective in every circumstance and that taking preventive measures cannot guarantee any outcome. We encourage you to use your own good judgment about what's appropriate for you and your property and always consider safety.
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