Denver is well-known for its rapidly changing weather. High winds, snow, and freezing temperatures can give way to rushing water within a single day. Especially in spring, rainstorms are common in the Mile High City.
The spring is a season in which there is a high risk for water damage and flooding. There is more rain in the spring and when the ground is still frozen in early spring, it does not absorb the rainwater which increases the risk of flooding. Thawing snow and ice is also a source of water damage when the warmer spring temperatures arrive. This makes it important for those in the Denver area to get their homes prepared for the possibility of spring flooding.
What types of floods are common in Denver?
Denver can experience several types of spring flooding. The warmer season has the potential to bring with it flash flooding, river flooding, ice or debris jams, snowmelt, and dry wash. Property owners should be aware of the flood risks in their area.
- Flash flooding: Intense rainfall can spur flash flooding, which is the rapid rise (within six hours) of water levels in a heavy stream. The still frozen ground increases the risk of flash flooding in early spring.
- River flooding: Heavy rains can cause rivers to overflow which leads to major flooding. Once again, the frozen ground may play a role as it will do little to slow the overflowing river water.
- Ice and debris jams: Remaining ice and other debris can block the flow of a river and cause it to back up and flood in the affected areas.
- Snowmelt: Snowmelt typically happens in the spring when warm temperatures quickly melt the snow. Grounds in the spring may be frozen or already saturated so the snowmelt forces the riverbanks to rise and overflow.
- Dry wash: Torrential spring rains can transform a normally dry canyon into a raging river very quickly.
Are roof inspections necessary?
Denver homeowners are advised to prepare their properties for the potentially hazardous spring storms. You should start at the top with the roof. Remember that flooding and water damage do not only occur in your basement. Faulty rooftops can lead to substantial interior water damage as leaks can damage the surrounding insulation, drywall, and other materials.
Prior to the start of springtime, Denver area residents should inspect their rooftops for any signs of damage or wear and tear. Repair noticeable holes or cracks in the roof and promptly replace missing or damaged shingles as even one missing shingle can allow water to seep inside.
Consult a roofing contractor if climbing onto the roof poses a safety hazard. Regular, annual roof inspections are key to preventing minor roof damage from turning into a major water damage issue. Also, be aware that roofing should be replaced every 15 to 20 years.
In addition to examining the roof, perform regular inspections of the attic for water damage. If there is a leak in the roof, the water will get into the attic and cause damage. Water stains and sagging areas along the ceiling are sure signs that water damage has occurred due to a roof leak.
Why is cleaning gutters important?
Just like water can invade a home through a flawed rooftop, moisture can seep into the basement through foundation cracks. The gutter system keeps water away from the foundation by draining it away from the home. If the gutters are blocked with leaves and other debris, water will spill over and pool near the foundation, leading to extensive water damage, mold, and wood rot.
It is important for homeowners to clean out their gutters at least twice each year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Cleaning out the gutters in the spring will get them prepared to properly drain the water from the coming rain. You should also make sure that the downspouts are aimed to direct water away from the home and foundation. Consider installing a gutter guard if your gutters need to be cleaned frequently.
After gathering the natural debris from the gutter, be careful to avoid dumping the leaves and twigs into a stream, gulch, or inlet. Homeowners who see debris, including raked leaves or grass clippings, in a drainage way should notify Denver’s Wastewater Management Division: (303) 446-3400.
Does the landscape affect flooding?
You should evaluate your landscape each spring as it can have an affect on the risk of flooding. First, check the grading of the ground around your foundation to ensure that it slopes away from the home. If the ground slopes towards your home, water is much more likely to pool around your foundation. You must change the grading so that it slopes away from the home for better drainage.
If you have bushes or plant beds near your home, make sure there is space between your home and the mulch. The mulch needs room to dry after it rains so that the water does not end up in your home. You should also beware of trees close to your home. Expansive root systems from trees near the home can increase the risk of flooding. If planting new trees in the spring, plant them a safe distance from your home.
What about sewage?
Sewage backups are a common source of indoor flooding, and they are as dangerous as they are destructive. Sewage backups occur when a problem causes sewage to come back into the home through the pipes. You can protect your home from sewage backups by installing sewage check valves that prevent sewage from coming back into your home.
How do homeowners prepare the basement?
Denver’s spring storms can send rainwater into the basement. As the lowest level of the home, the basement is susceptible to pooling water along the floor. Homeowners who fail to prepare the basement could find themselves wading through several inches of floodwater. It is important to prepare the most vulnerable area of your home to protect it from spring flooding.
Safeguarding the basement starts with installing a functional sump pump. The sump pump keeps excess water out of the basement by collecting it in a basin and pumping it outside of the home. You should consider installing a battery operated backup pump if your area is especially prone to flooding. Be sure to test the pump regularly to ensure that it is functional.
You can also protect your basement by covering window wells with plastic covers. Rainwater has little chance to seep into the basement when properly fitted window well covers are in place. Furthermore, seal visible cracks in the foundation with caulk. Major cracks should be sealed by a foundation specialist.
Do Denver residents need flood insurance?
Since Denver is prone to flooding, residents should strongly consider purchasing separate flood insurance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Flooding is known to occur not only in Denver’s high-risk flood zones, but in medium and low risk areas as well.
While flooding happens due to rapid snowmelt, torrential rain, and rising rivers, residents should also be aware that wildfires create areas that are more prone to flooding. Wildfires char the ground, making it unable to absorb water and increasing the risk for mud flows and flash floods to occur. Flood risks can also remain high for up to five years after a wildfire has occurred.
If you want to get flood insurance, do it right away. Flood insurance has a 30-day waiting period prior to it becoming effective.
Flood and Water Damage Restoration from ServiceMaster Fire and Water Restoration
Residential and commercial properties alike are susceptible to Denver’s spring storms and the resulting flooding. Prepare for the spring season by keeping on hand the contact information for the area’s most reputable water damage cleanup experts, ServiceMaster Fire and Water Restoration.
Water damage is extremely destructive. Once inside, floodwater is easily absorbed into porous materials, such as wood floors, ceilings, and walls. Warping, buckling, and corrosion are the ruinous outcomes. Prompt attention from water damage mitigation pros is key to halting the damage.
ServiceMaster Fire and Water Restoration technicians arrive quickly to the water damaged site, assess the extent of destruction, and develop a mitigation plan. Our advanced equipment and techniques ensure that all excess moisture is removed as fast as possible to prevent further water damage.
Our water damage cleanup services are comprehensive. Once the excess moisture is extracted, our specialists thoroughly dry the premises with powerful dehumidifiers. We also clean damaged property, including clothing and electronics. Deodorization returns the affected area to a habitable condition.
Flooding in Denver can be an unanticipated event. Prepare for the worst by consulting the best in flood damage restoration. ServiceMaster Fire and Water Restoration crews respond quickly to emergency calls. We are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year, for all local water damage crises.