A flooded basement is a common catastrophe. Whether your basement accumulates a couple of inches or a couple of feet of rising water, a flood is problematic for several reasons. For instance, the basement will be unusable until the water is removed and flooded areas are cleaned; furniture, clothing and anything else stored in the basement could be ruined and would need to be replaced; and lingering odors and the growth of mold could harm your family’s health. While you might not consider winter to be a likely time for your basement to flood, several things could cause a basement to flood this season. To prevent this type of disaster, pay attention to these likely causes of rising water in your basement. Water is your foundation’s biggest enemy.

1. Foundation Damage A foundation that is cracked, chipped or buckling could let rainwater or melting snow enter your home’s structure. Typically, a water leak will lead directly to the basement because of gravity. Inspect your foundation or hire a professional to do so, to ensure it is holding up securely. Ice eventually melts, and that can cause damage.

2. Ice Layers of ice banking against your home’s foundation may damage the concrete structure due to increased pressure or weight. Melting ice can find its way into crevices and cracks that may be hard to detect until you go down to the basement one day and find the floor covered in water.

Build a small ditch around your home’s perimeter so that moisture flows away from the house rather than into the basement.