Saturday, July 29, 2017

Still Life with Robin: Rain, Rain, Flow Away

National Weather Service
by Peggy Robin

Today’s tip comes too late for people whose basements were swamped after up to five inches of rain fell in some parts of our area – but if you take this advice on a sunny day, you may have a dry basement in the next storm. Try this:

Roll-out downspout extension:

If you want your basement to stay dry, you have to make sure that the rainwater coming down your downspouts is carried away from your house. We used to have the downspouts connected to pipes that disappeared underground, but once they became clogged, the water backed up and we ended up with a wet basement almost any time it rained. For years, we kept hiring people to try to unclog the drains. If they couldn’t unclog them, they would propose digging out and installing new underground drains. It was always expensive, and eventually, the underground drain clogged up again. We were plagued with this problem for years.

I don’t remember how I first heard about the roll-out plastic sleeve downspout extension, but if I had to guess, I would say I saw it at Strosnider’s in Bethesda. All good hardware and home improvement ideas seem to come out of Strosnider’s. This plastic-sleeve-thingy costs about twelve bucks and anyone can install it. When I say “anyone” I mean an incompetent, unhandy-as-they-come homeowner like me. You just take the thing out of the package and use the trash-bag-style zip-tie that comes with it to attach it to the downspout, like so:

I don’t remember how many years ago we started using these things, but for however long it’s been, our basement has stayed dry. And it’s dry now, despite the deluges of the past few days. That means I haven’t had a need to use another cheap but eminently worthwhile product that I swear by: the Libman Wonder Mop – top-rated among mops by And it's just $14 on Amazon, with easy-to-change mop heads, just $7 a pop.

Sunday will be mercifully clear and a good day to shop!

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

1 comment:

  1. Just thought you'd like to know the rainfall totals/records for yesterday's rain: