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How to Prevent Flooding in the Home and Yard

I love being able to fix problems myself and then share the success story with others. We are living in the DIY generation!

The pump, seen in bottom right corner of photo, actually drained my entire yard and prevented water from entering my home.

The pump, seen in bottom right corner of photo, actually drained my entire yard and prevented water from entering my home.

How to Get Rid of Yard Depressions and Water Retention

As you can see from the picture above, our yard has a low spot that retains water. This occurs with greater intensity with the onset of spring due to the melting snow. There are a number of ways to deal with such depressions on your property.

Fill Dirt Option

There is the "fill dirt" option, which means hauling in a couple of truckloads of dirt, depositing it in the middle of the yard and distributing it evenly. I struggle with this one because I think that's really only shifting the problem. In fact, our trouble may have started because a neighbor did some landscaping that resulted in an elevation of their property, causing rainwater to flow onto ours. I'm concerned that raising our backyard may cause the same problem for yet another neighbor. Either that or an H2O see-saw would be created with the neighbor who raised his property in the first place. Before you know it, we'd both be living on hills!

Dig a Drain and Install Piping

Another option would be digging a drain and installing industrial-grade piping to funnel standing water out of the backyard and into the sewer system. This is a viable option, but one that will take some time and a considerable amount of money.

My Preferred Alternative Solution

I am going to focus on a quick solution that works in both the short and long term, is very simple, and extremely inexpensive. I am going to show you a fast and easy method for draining your patio, yard, or basement, should flooding or pooling occur.

What You Need

To begin de-flooding your yard or basement, you will need only three items. They are as follows:

  1. The Wayne Submersible Pump
  2. A garden hose (make sure the length is project-appropriate)
  3. A flooded area
Step 1

Step 1

Step 1: Set Up Your Workspace

Plug the pump into the external outlet and suspend the cord.

Step 2. Be sure to watch the video below.

Step 2. Be sure to watch the video below.

Step 2: Attach the Equipment

Attach the hose nozzle to the pump nozzle. It is important to watch the video below (specifically at 1:26) to see exactly how to connect the hose to the pump, because it works best while the pump is actively spouting water.

Step 3: Confirm Water Flow

Make sure water is now flowing from the opposite end of the hose to a safe location.

Step 4

Step 4

Step 4: Remove Debris

Remove debris from the bottom of the pump occasionally to avoid clogging. Here I remove small twigs and leaves from the base of the pump. The pump has a strong vacuum feature that occasionally pulls in debris, slowing or stopping water flow.

What Happens If Water Flow Stops Prematurely?

Water flow will stop should the pump become plugged or clogged with twigs. Simply brush them away from the base of the pump and it should resume functioning. Plugging/clogging will not damage the pump. The worst-case scenario would be having to unscrew the baseplate of the pump and doing a more thorough cleaning. Only four small screws hold the baseplate in place, so this is an easy exercise should it need doing. Ensure good flow resumes by actually seeing it, don't just assume it has done so.

Video: Me Fixing the Flood Situation

Additional Tips and Safety Advice

  1. It is possible to actually place the pump out in the yard. If placed on top of a small, flat platform, the pump will actually pump all the water wherever you direct the hose attached to it. The appropriate direction would be out into the street and into the sewer system as opposed to the neighbors yard.
  2. A word of CAUTION: Placing the pump in the yard as opposed to the way you see it used in my photos and home video will require an extension cord. This could be DANGEROUS as it channels electricity in extremely close proximity to water; water you would most likely be wading through.
  3. Be sure to use rubber boots and rubber gloves when near the potentially lethal combination of water and electricity.
  4. Check all cords for breaks of integrity, frayed or broken wires, etc.
  5. Read the owner's manual for the pump should you choose to purchase.

Again: Be sure to use rubber boots and rubber gloves when near the potentially lethal combination of water and electricity.

Protect Your Investment and Keep Water Away From the House

As you can see from the above photographs, I have a lot of trees around my house, which means lots of leaves in my gutters. Because of the close proximity of trees, cleaning gutters is a chore I have to engage in as a matter of routine. Even in the summer months debris, bark shards, and berries of one sort or another are always wreaking havoc on my gutters. Shade can be a heavy price to pay in terms of maintenance. I have to check the gutters at least once a month from spring to autumn. If I don't, I'll be pumping water out of my basement instead of off my patio and out of my yard.

If you come away with one key thought after reading this article, let it be this: Keep water away from the house. That's the key. You have to do both. If you've got a depression in your yard you have to head off the water before it reaches the house. If you live in an area with a high concentration of foliage you'll have to keep a sharp eye on your gutters. Ahh . . . the joys of owning a home! It's a lot of work, but it sure is satisfying knowing you've done all you can to protect your investment, and more importantly, kept your family safe and sound.

Consider Helpful Products to Protect You From Flooding

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. Flooding costs homeowners millions of dollars in water damage every year. It certainly cost me a pretty penny. Two years ago, our basement flooded. Since our basement was "finished," we had to tear out all the carpeting, some of the furniture, and several odds and ends that came into contact with the water.

Purchasing the Wayne Submersible Pump was a no-risk investment that has saved me, at least, hundreds of dollars. Now, when the big rains come and the snow starts melting, I don't panic or worry. Just knowing I can handle the water, knowing I can keep it out of my house provides me with great peace of mind. I believe it will have the same effect on you.

A good friend of mine thought it would be a good idea to update his sump pump. He'd had it for 20 years and had heard that it was at about that time that he should have it upgraded. He did so; however, the upgrade wasn't installed correctly and his basement flooded costing him thousands of dollars in audio equipment and other items. The installation company paid for the damage, but had my friend owned the submersible pump discussed in this article, and had he known how to use it . . . well he could've recouped the loss of money from the maintenance company and spared himself the water damage. I have concerns about the "unseen" damage water can do to walls, flooring, foundations, etc. Stay dry!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Leland Johnson (author) from Midland MI on May 20, 2018:

Yes, very relieved. You feel this sense of panic grip you as the water approaches the house, but once I get the pump going- bam: no more water. I think I need to live on a hill for my next home :)

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 20, 2018:

I live on a hill so I don't have this problem (although it causes different problems). I can't imagine the nastiness of all that water. You have to be relieved to have an answer to it sitting in your yard.

Leland Johnson (author) from Midland MI on May 03, 2018:

Hi Alesia, thanks for commenting. Trust me, if I can do it you can do it. Cheers!

AlesiaSullivan on May 03, 2018:

Very informative and well-written piece. As a single woman, I am on a constant chase to find easy DIY fixes to life's certain issues that arise. This particular issue is huge for a homeowner as flooding causes so many problems, both long and short term. The author was very clear on the steps to resolve the issue and I am confident that this is something even I could accomplish.