Spring fixes to protect your home from the elements

Plus dehumidifiers that keep dank basements dry

Published: April 24, 2015 03:45 PM

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After a rough winter in many areas of the country, spring has been no fling. Insurance claims for damage from hail, wind, and sewer and sump pump backups spike in the spring, according to Travelers. With snow shovels stashed, now’s a good time to inspect your house for any damage that may have occurred over the winter while your were inside keeping warm. Here are some steps to take to prevent further harm from wild weather.  

  • Check the trees on your property and prune any limbs that are within 10 feet of the house.
  • Inspect your roof to make sure no shingles shook loose during the winter.
  • Check the soffits to make sure they’re secure enough to withstand high winds.
  • Repair any damaged gutters and downspouts to ensure that water is directed away from your foundation. Clear them of debris.
  • Make sure your sump pumps and drains are in working order and that the backup battery is operating properly.
  • If you’ve suffered sewer backups in the past, consider having a plumber install a backflow valve.

A wet spring can be the start of moisture buildup in your basement leading to the development of mold and mildew. Your first step is to find the source of the moisture and fix any leaks or other conditions you discover. Then invest in a good dehumidifier. Here are some of the best from Consumer Reports tests.

Danby DDR60A3GP

Best dehumidifiers from our tests

Large. The 70-pint Kenmore Elite 54571, $330, leads our Ratings of large-capacity dehumidifiers, which we recommend for large or very wet spaces, like that dank basement. In addition to acing our water removal and energy efficiency tests, the Kenmore features a built-in pump that can expel water to an elevated location, like a utility sink or open window. The Danby DDR60A3GP is another top-rated large-capacity dehumidifier with a continuous-drain feature that’s easy to operate.

Medium. Kenmore also has the top-rated model among medium-capacity dehumidifiers with its 50-pint Kenmore 54550. Also consider the recommended GE ADEW50LR, $200, sold at Walmart and the Frigidaire FAD504DWD, $220.

Small. If you're only trying to dehumidify a small area, the 30-pint Sunpentown SD-31E, $230, actually had the highest overall score of all tested models.  The 30-pint Frigidaire FAD301NWD, $200, is another good choice for smaller spaces but it was a little noisier than the Sunpentown so perhaps not the best bet for a bedroom.

—Mary H.J. Farrell (@mhjfarrell on Twitter)

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